Neuer may have to leave Bayern Munich after stunning club with outburst, claims Effenberg

By Sports Desk February 04, 2023

Manuel Neuer may end up leaving Bayern Munich at the end of the season after his scathing criticism of the move to dismiss the club's goalkeeping coach, claims Stefan Effenberg.

Bayern captain Neuer said the sacking of Toni Tapalovic was "the most brutal thing I've experienced in my career", and those comments drew a sharp rebuke from club CEO Oliver Kahn.

Kahn, himself a former Bayern goalkeeper, said Neuer's remarks were not befitting of his role as captain and promised the club would directly confront the 36-year-old about the comments.

Tapalovic made his Bayern exit soon after Neuer suffered a broken leg while on a skiing trip in December, after the World Cup.

In an interview with The Athletic, published this week, Neuer said news of his mentor's departure was "a blow – when I was already down on the ground".

Reports claimed Tapalovic and head coach Julian Nagelsmann had become incompatible, with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic saying in a January 23 announcement: "Differences, particularly over the way we worked together, have now led to us going our separate ways."

Former Germany midfielder Effenberg, who was a key figure at Bayern in two separate playing spells, believes Neuer may have written himself out of Bayern's future with the tone of his remarks.

Effenberg described it as "an interview that will probably go down in football history", saying Neuer should appreciate coaching changes only ever happen for a reason.

"This is the way it is in life and in football," Effenberg wrote in his t-online column. "Sometimes paths separate when certain things have happened.

"Those responsible certainly had their reasons for making a change – and they did. With this, FC Bayern makes decisions for the future of the club.

"A player simply has to accept that, even if he's the captain. Because nothing and nobody is above the club. No player, no coach is bigger than Bayern Munich."

Neuer has 18 months left on his Bayern deal, and he may struggle to displace Yann Sommer, who has been brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach to cover for his absence.

For many years, Neuer was widely regarded as the world's best goalkeeper, but he is in the autumn of his career now.

Effenberg wrote: "He should think about whether it makes any sense for him to still fulfil his contract with FC Bayern, which is valid until 2024, after these allegations, or whether it might be better to leave the club. From the feeling it could well be that it will even come down to that. I wouldn't be surprised if they split up this summer."

A Champions League winner in 2001 with Bayern, Effenberg said the emotional nature of Neuer's comments "are no longer good prerequisites for further good and harmonious cooperation".

"Both sides now have a few months to think about how things should continue beyond the summer – or not," Effenberg added. "With this interview, Neuer certainly made life very difficult, if not impossible, for Bayern for the future."

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    The first matchdays of each group at Euro 2024 are now over, after the final pool got started in style on Tuesday.

    First, Turkiye and Georgia served up an unlikely classic in Dortmund, before Portugal beat Czechia 2-1 in Leipzig.

    Records were broken in each of those matches, with Arda Guler and Cristiano Ronaldo making history.

    But what other stats standout from Group F's two opening games?

    Turkiye 3-1 Georgia: Guler breaks Ronaldo record

    In Kenan Yildiz (19y 45d) and Guler (19y 114d), Turkiye became just the second nation at the European Championship to start two different teenagers in a game, after Hungary against Denmark in 1964 (Zoltan Varga and Ferenc Bene).

    And Guler, who was on the fringes at Real Madrid in 2023-24, showcased his immense potential with a superb all-round performance, capped off with a stunning, record-breaking strike.

    He is the youngest player in the tournament's history to score on their first appearance, and just the third teenager to do so, after Ronaldo for Portugal against Greece in 2004 and Ferenc Bene for Hungary against Spain in 1964.

    Indeed, Ronaldo was the previous holder of the record, having netted on his debut at Euro 2004. 

    As well as scoring, Guler also became just the third teenager on record to create as many as five chances in a single game at the European Championship finals (since 1980), along with Wayne Rooney against Croatia in 2004 (18y 241d) and Pedri against Switzerland in 2021 (18y 219d).

    Guler's screamer followed on from Mert Muldur's excellent volley, which was just his second international goal, and paved the way for substitute Kerem Akturkoglu to round out a 3-1 victory, but only after Georgia had hit the woodwork twice and seen an effort cleared off the line in what was a thrilling contest.

    Georges Mikautadze made history with his first-half equaliser, bringing up Georgia's first goal at a major tournament, in their first such appearance.

    Turkiye won a Euros opener for the first time, having lost each of their previous five such games, while they have won four of their six encounters with Georgia in all competitions (D1 L1), with this their first win in a competitive game against them since a 5-2 victory in a World Cup qualifier in March 2005.

    Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Records up for Ronaldo and Pepe

    Pepe (41y 113d) and Ronaldo (39y 134d) both started for Portugal, and in the process became the two oldest outfield players to ever appear at the Euros.

    Age truly is just a number for the gnarly Pepe, though. The defender won possession more times than any other player across matchday one (11).

    Ronaldo also became the first player to feature in as many as six different editions of the European Championship finals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020 and 2024).

    He could not get on the scoresheet to mark the occasion, though he did see a header rebound off the post before being tucked in by Diogo Jota. However, Ronaldo had strayed offside in the build-up and the would-be winner was ruled out.

     

    Portugal went behind to Lukas Provod's blistering opener, which was the 11th goal scored from outside the box at Euro 2024. That is now just one fewer than in the whole of the group stage at Euro 2020.

    That goal came after Portugal had dominated proceedings. In fact, Roberto Martinez's completed 368 passes in the first half of this match, their most in a single half of football at the European Championship finals on record (since 1980).

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    Francisco Conceicao proved to be Portugal's hero. He scored just 111 seconds after coming off the bench, becoming the first Portugal player to score as a substitute at the Euros  since Eder in the 2016 final against France.

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    Georgia head coach Willy Sagnol believes his players will learn from their defeat to Turkiye, but was proud of his side's performance in Dortmund.

    The 75th-ranked side in the world captured the hearts of many neutrals in their first game at Euro 2024, coming agonisingly close to snatching a memorable point late on.

    Georges Mikautadze made history by scoring Georgia's first-ever goal at a major tournament following Mert Muldur's opener, but the minnows were undone by a piece of individual brilliance by Arda Guler before Kerem Akturkoglu sealed a 3-1 win late on. 

    "I don't want to say we are happy losers today but I think we can be proud of our performance," Sagnol told reporters.

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    For Turkiye, however, they won their opening game of a European Championship finals for the first time, having lost each of their previous five. 

    And a big contributor to that was Real Madrid's Guler, whose stunning strike showcased his mercurial talent, and was something he revealed he had practised in the lead-up to the game.

    "I am just thrilled, no words to describe how I feel. I was dreaming of this goal constantly," Guler said.

    "I've been practising this particular shot recently at the end of training sessions. I'm so happy to have scored this way."

    Turkiye head coach Vincenzo Montella celebrated the triumph on his 50th birthday, and Guler was able to deliver the boss his only wish.

    "My coach had wanted a goal as a birthday present," Guler told reporters. "I hope I can continue these goals."

    Montella was equally pleased with the way his birthday had panned out, labelling the result as the perfect day as preparations turn to their game against Portugal on Saturday, who beat Czechia late on in the other Group F contest. 

    "We are just thrilled," Montella said. "It was a lot of coincidences coming together today, my 50th birthday, Eid at home, the Euro opener."

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    The rallying cry just about worked - Ronaldo didn't score, but Portugal beat Czechia 2-1 thanks to Francisco Conceicao's last-gasp winner.

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    Baller

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