Former longtime Bayern Munich player Hasan Salihamidžić will become the club’s new sporting director, as has been announced at a short-notice press conference, broadcast via fcb.de on Monday.
The surprising news comes amid a one-year period full of speculation. During this time, the club has held the position vacant, since the unexpected resignation of Matthias Sammer, who previously held the post.
The discussion in the media centered around whether Sammer’s replacement might be Max Eberl (current sporting director at Borussia Mönchengladbach with a past at Bayern), or whether it may be Munich’s now-retired team captain Philipp Lahm.
When both of those questions were answered in the negative, there was even more speculation, including as to whether or not Bayern even needed a sporting director.
Nevertheless, club president Uli Hoeneß and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge always insisted that there needed to be someone who connects the board, the coaching staff and the team together.
Hasan Salihamidžić has played for Bayern from 1998 to 2007, and has taken up virtually every outfield position during that period.
President Hoeneß has stressed the need for the club to “get back to its roots”, often recently and particularly in Monday’s press conference. That is why it was important to find someone who identifies himself with the club for the position.
The Bosnian-born Salihamidžić speaks five languages and has a network of experts, he is in contact with.The youth academy, scouting and transfers will be his core areas of responsibility.
Hasan will sit on the bench during matches and there have been media reports stating that coach Carlo Ancelotti sees no need for a sporting director. Yet, Hoeneß and Rummenigge have both made clear that he is happy to have another Bayern legend beside him, who also speaks his native Italian (as Salihamidžić does).
On a personal note, I am thrilled that one of my biggest childhood heroes has returned to the club I love in such a high position. I am just as thrilled that in Willy Sagnol, another player from that generation has returned as assistant coach.