Former Bayern Munich captain Lothar Matthäus has criticised the club for their handling of contract talks with star striker Robert Lewandowski who now appears ready to leave in summer, reported dpa.
Matthäus alleged in his column for broadcasters Sky on Monday that Bayern spent too much time trying to get Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland who is now joining Manchester City, and should have rather told Lewandowski months ago they want him to renew beyond 2023.
Bayern and Lewandowski said Saturday he will not extend his contract and Lewandowski, 33, appears set to leave for Barcelona where he is reportedly being offered a three-year contract.
Bayern, who were allegedly only ready to give the 33-year-old only one additional year like other older players, insist so far he has to stay for his final year.
"They should have talked to him several months ago and sent a very clear signal that they want to keep him. But it appears that they negotiated with Haaland and fought for him until they got his rejection," said Matthäus who captained Germany to the 1990 World Cup title.
"And when the club then tried to get their act together with Lewandowski they had to realise that he no longer felt like it.
"I would have done everything to extend long term with the two-time World Footballer. They should have made an exception with him and despite his age added two years. There is a difference between players and sometimes you must make exceptions in life.
"And if he wants more money then only because he deserves it. He scores many more goals than anyone else. Unlike Haaland he is hardly injured, is fit like a 30-year-old and is an absolute figurehead for Bayern in the areas of image and marketing," Matthäus said.