Summer signing’s first few weeks
Wed, 27/09/23, 11:00
Harry Kane: Duke of Success
The sight of Gerd Müller on the way up the Allianz Arena can no longer be missed, with his statue standing proudly outside the stadium as of September. Uli Hoeneß said in a heartfelt speech at the unveiling: “Gerd was the best No.9 there probably ever will be in the world.” In doing so, he made a bold pass from the past to the present of the German record champions. What does Munich's latest monument actually mean to the man who currently wears the No.9 in the jersey at Bayern?
It was a rainy Monday, about a week after the inauguration of the Müller statue. The observation that the weather was very British after weeks of sunshine is like a tap-in into an empty net – it simply has to be done. Harry Kane, new signing from Tottenham Hotspurs, trudged from the training ground to the dressing room after an extra shift, this time shooting a few videos for marketing activities, and once again almost every shot was a hit. An assistant had thrown ball after ball to Kane, and he cooly smashed volleys aimed at a target in the corner of the goal. Job well done, as always.
How does it feel to have the statue of Gerd outside casting a shadow over the stadium, with Kane inside doing his job with this rather gigantic legacy on his shoulders? Surely there’s no greater pressure? Apart from the highest transfer fee ever paid by Bayern? Kane laughs. "Honestly," he says, "the biggest pressure I put on myself. I want to achieve something." He studied Müller's goals on YouTube some time ago, he continues. "I wanted to find out what he was like and how he played. He was an incredible goalscorer, and from what I hear, above all, an incredible person. For me to follow in his footsteps is very special."
„The biggest pressure I put on myself. I want to achieve something.”
The fans are a special drive, they always have been, Kane says. What makes a great player, how do you define yourself? Kane often speaks how he plays – straightforward and purposeful. Even with such questions, like he does in front of the opponent's goal, he gets straight to the point - and to a very original, common denominator. He himself, he says, still feels "like a fan playing, simply because I love this sport so much". Maybe that's the secret as to why he obviously finds it easier than others to stay cool in front of goal. When you chase after the ball as passionately as a fan, an issue like pressure doesn't even come up. The desire to score never goes out of him, he says, "assists are also important, and above all there’s always the group success, the victory for the team - but that adrenaline rush after a goal always keeps you going".
Kane, who it feels had been playing for Tottenham in the Premier League since the dawn of time, comes perhaps more than other new signing with the question of how quickly one can feel at home in a new environment. Bayern places a lot of emphasis on its identity, and footballers from all over the world have rarely, basically never, been able to escape the draw of this club, which is characterised by family feeling and folklore - many stayed far longer than they had originally planned.
„That adrenaline rush after a goal always keeps you going.”
Kane took part in the traditional photoshoot in lederhosen with authentic delight, and of course Thomas Müller didn't miss the opportunity to demonstrate to him that in Bavaria you open a bottle with the cap of the next one. Kane had to laugh out loud in the drizzle at the training ground when asked about Müller. "Thomas is a fantastic guy who lives Bayern - he has this special hunger, he always wants everything, at the same time he enjoys what he does. We will both give everything to be successful with Bayern."
Back when Franck Ribery arrived from France, a poster several storeys high hung at Odeonsplatz in the heart of Munich for weeks. "Bayern has a king again," it read under the photo, which depicted the winger in regal garb. In England, Prince Harry was awarded the title Duke of Sussex in 2018 - the ‘Prince Harry’ of Munich, on the other hand, has what it takes here to become the ‘Duke of Success’, a lord, the father of success. Who knows? Maybe they'll end up building a statue of him in Munich too. Hoeneß was also asked about his quote about the best No.9 at the unveiling of the Müller monument, about what Kane might think about that? The honorary president grinned mischievously: "Harry's only been here a few weeks now - if he's scored as many goals in three years, we'll talk again. I have every confidence in this guy."
© Photos: Julian Baumann, Simon Mellar/Tom Kieslich
The extended profile can be found in the October edition of members’ magazine ‘51’