Madrid tabled 'immoral' Lewandowski offer, claims agent

The attacker’s representative has revealed that the Santiago Bernabeu side were keen to lure him to La Liga

Robert Lewandowski’s agent Maik Barthel has claimed that Real Madrid attempted to hijack Bayern Munich’s move for the Borussia Dortmund striker.

The Poland international signed a five-year deal with the Bundesliga champions on Saturday to bring a protracted transfer saga to an end.

However, Barthel has revealed that Madrid were keen to sign Lewandowski, too, and were willing to go far for the 25-year-old.

“There was an immoral offer from Real Madrid,” the striker’s representative was quoted as saying by Spiegel Online.

Madrid were reportedly willing to offer Lewandowski an annual salary of €9.5 million plus an additional €10m signing fee, but Barthel has made it clear that they never considered breaking their promise to Bayern.

He added: “We listened to their offer out of respect for such a big club. But breaking our word never crossed our mind.”

Lewandowski has been in sublime form for Dortmund this season, scoring 11 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances.

Watzke hunts for new Lewandowski

The 54-year-old says the club are working round the clock to find a replacement for the Poland international following confirmation he will join Bayern Munich next summer

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has revealed the club are working “flat out” to find a replacement for Robert Lewandowski after the forward signed a contract with Bayern Munich.

The Bavarians announced on Saturday that the forward would join the club on a five-year deal once his contract with BVB expires this summer.

Watzke, reacting to the news of Lewandowski’s departure, said he was fully expecting the announcement and the club is now committed to identifying a suitable replacement.

“This is not surprising, it is a completely normal process,” the 54-year-old was quoted in Bild am Sonntag.

“In recent weeks it had been clear that it would come to this. Our sports director Michael Zorc is working flat out to find an alternative.”

Lewandowski, who is currently joint top scorer in the Bundesliga with 11 goals so far this season, had long been anticipated to move to the Allianz Arena and Watzke stressed that he had no concerns over the 25-year-old’s commitment to the club for the remainder of the campaign.

“Between us and Robert there is no problem,” Watzke stressed.

“I have not the slightest doubt that there will be any changes to his strong performances.”

Bayern sit at the top of the table with 44 points, 12 ahead of fourth-placed Dortmund.

Watzke 'unsurprised' by Lewandowski Bayern move

The 54-year-old insists he has no issue with the manner in which the Poland striker orchestrated his move to the Bavarians

Hans-Joachim Watzke has described Robert Lewandowski’s move away from Borussia Dortmund as “a normal process” after the forward signed a contract with Bayern Munich.

The Bavarians announced on Saturday that the forward would join the club on a five-year deal once his contract with BVB expires this summer.

Watzke, reacting to the news of Lewandowski’s departure, said he was fully expecting the announcement and the club is now committed to identifying a suitable replacement.

“This is not surprising, it is a completely normal process,” the 54-year-old was quoted in Bild am Sonntag.

“In recent weeks it had been clear that it would come to this. Our sports director Michael Zorc is working flat out to find an alternative.”

Lewandowski, who is currently joint top scorer in the Bundesliga with 11 goals so far this season, had long been anticipated to move to the Allianz Arena and Watzke stressed that he had no concerns over the 25-year-old’s commitment to the club for the remainder of the campaign.

“Between us and Robert there is no problem,” Watzke stressed.

“I have not the slightest doubt that there will be any changes to his strong performances.”

Bayern sit at the top of the table with 44 points, 12 ahead of fourth-placed Dortmund.

This Barcelona are as good as Guardiola's, says Escriba

The Elche boss insists that the Blaugrana have not dropped their standards since their former coach’s departure but believes his side still have a chance of getting a result

Fran Escriba claims that Barcelona are still as formidable an opponent as they were under Pep Guardiola as Elche prepare to face the Catalans.

The Blaugrana go into Sunday’s match at Camp Nou, their first league game of the New Year, looking to regain top spot in La Liga after Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win over Malaga on Saturday.

However, though the Barcelona side under Pep Guardiola has been hailed as one of club football’s greatest ever, Escriba feels that the current crop of players have proven that they are no worse than they were in that period by continuing to win in the absence of Lionel Messi.

“I believe this Barcelona team is as good as Guardiola’s,” the 48-year-old was quoted by Marca.

“They’ve been without the best player in the world but have still managed to keep winning. It’s an extraordinary team.

“This is one of the games you really want to play in, but we know it is going to be very tough, but not impossible to come away with any points.”

Messi has not featured since Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Real Betis in November and will not be fit to return against Elche after his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury, but goalkeeper Victor Valdes has been named in the squad by Gerardo Martino.

“If they recover, it won’t be the best piece of news for us, but Barcelona are as good without them,” Escriba responded when asked about the possibility of the duo returning.

“I really don’t care if they play.”

The Catalans currently sit second in La Liga with 46 points from 17 games, now three behind Diego Simeone’s Atleti.

Lewandowski won't force Manduzkic out – Rummenigge

As well as claiming that the Croat striker remains part of Pep Guardiola’s plans, the Bayern chief rejected reports linking them with David Luiz

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists Mario Mandzukic has a future at the club despite them signing a deal with Robert Lewandowski on Saturday.

The striker, 27, who has scored of 10 Bundesliga goals this season, has been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena in the summer, coinciding with Lewandowski’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer.

However, Rummenigge has moved quickly to quash such speculation following confirmation of the contract with the Polish attacker, insisting that the Bavarians are in fact hoping to extend the Croat’s current deal.

“We’re very pleased with Mario,” Rummenigge told Bayern’s official website. “He made a significant contribution to us winning so many trophies last year.

“He’s a great player who is thriving at Bayern. He has a contract with us until 30 June 2016, and I told his agent during the Club World Cup that we’re willing to consider an early contract extension.

“It is by no means a topic of discussion that we want to sell Mario.”

Chelsea defender David Luiz has been heavily linked with Pep Guardiola’s squad, but Rummenigge claims that the reported interest has been invented as die Roten are not looking at bringing in the likes of the Brazil international this month.

“There’s a lot of speculation at the moment, especially in England,” the Bayern chief added. “We’re being linked with David Luiz and a number of Spanish players.

“All I can say, very clearly, is bringing in these players is not of interest to us. We’re not concerned about players we’re being linked with joining next summer.

“There’s nothing lined up, so we have nothing to hide. It’s simply not an issue.”

Bayern return to Bundesliga action, having lifted the Club Word Cup in December, on January 25 at Borussia Monchengladbach.