Gladbach hit out at Bayern transfer policy

The club’s sporting director believes the Bundesliga champions are harming German football by snapping up young players before they can develop elsewhere

Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl has criticised Bayern Munich for their tendency to sign young talents before they have had a chance to develop.

The Bavarians recently announced the capture of Stuttgart youngster Joshua Kimmich after previously bringing in players such as Sinan Kurt from Gladbach and Mitchell Weiser from Koln.

Eberl feels German football would be better off if talented youngsters develop into key players at their boyhood clubs, though, before potentially moving on for a greater transfer fee.

“I’m not sure whether it actually benefits German football when you sign up promising youngsters before they are ready,” Eberl told Rheinischen Post.

“Young players could also make a name for themselves elsewhere before making the move to Bayern.

“That way, other clubs would also benefit from it, with bigger transfer fees finding their way to the clubs behind Bayern.”

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who joined Bayern from Brondby, has joined Augsburg on loan after struggling to cement his place in the first team.

Guardiola doesn't trust Shaqiri, says Hitzfeld

The Switzerland international is widely expected to leave Bayern Munich in January and his former coach believes the time is right for him to move on

Former Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has urged Xherdan Shaqiri to leave Bayern Munich in the January transfer window as he feels Pep Guardiola’s lack of trust is holding the winger back.

The 23-year-old has been struggling to secure regular first-team action under the former Barcelona coach and has mainly been warming the bench this campaign.

Inter and Liverpool are closely monitoring Shaqiri’s situation at the Allianz Arena side, with the former believed to be sitting in pole position to lure him away from Bayern, and Hitzfeld believes the time is right for the attacker to move on.

“The time has come where it is best for Xherdan to leave the club. He needs a new challenge. It is important for him now to make the next step in his development and be a starter on a regular basis,” Hitzfeld was quoted as saying by Blick.

“We saw in the past six months or so that Guardiola did not trust him for the full 100 per cent, even when Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were injured. It was not easy for him that he still did not feature from the start then.

“Xherdan has also benefited from Guardiola’s arrival, but it was clear that the coach never really fully supported him.”

Shaqiri has made nine Bundesliga appearances so far this term, scoring once in the process.

Messi and Ronaldo did not do enough to win Ballon d'Or, says Maradona

The Argentina icon believes Germany’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper has done enough to win the prize given the Liga duo’s “relaxed” attitude to the past year

Diego Maradona feels Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer deserves to win the Fifa Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo following his fine performances in 2014.

The Real Madrid attacker is widely regarded as the favourite to defend the prestigious award after guiding the Santiago Bernabeu side to European glory last season, while Messi enjoyed a successful year in which he was crowned all-time top scorer of La Liga and the Champions League after being named the best player at the World Cup.

Nevertheless, Maradona believes neither has done enough to prevent Neuer from becoming the first goalkeeper since Lev Yashin in 1963 to be crowned the world’s best footballer.

“My favourite for the Ballon d’Or? Neither Messi, nor Ronaldo,” the Argentine legend told Radio Habana Cuba.

“For me, Neuer is the one who deserves it the most. I feel that Messi and Ronaldo have taken things a bit too relaxed in 2014.”

The winner of the Ballon d’Or will be announced at the annual Fifa Gala in Zurich on January 12.

Bayern have a long way to go, says Sammer

The former Germany international has insisted domestic glory is by no means guaranteed for the Allianz Arena side

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has stressed that they cannot afford to get complacent if they are to be successful this term.

The Bundesliga leaders are still unbeaten in Germany’s top flight ahead of the second half of the campaign, yet Sammer has warned that they must remain focused in order to win their third consecutive league title.

“No club in the world can plan to finish the campaign undefeated. We can be happy with a lot of things right now but we still have a long way to go,” Sammer told the official Bundesliga website.

“So far, the players have done a very good job in executing how Pep Guardiola and the club envisage playing football and we want to continue working on that. But don’t believe for a second that every Bundesliga game isn’t a new challenge.

“This isn’t considered one of the strongest leagues in the world for nothing, and even the team that is top of the table at the halfway mark can’t forget that.”

Sammer went on to suggest that the style with which Bayern play their matches is arguably more important than the results themselves.

“The Bundesliga is massively important to us and obviously we want to be right up there at the top, but more important than the result is the way you play football.

“After a successful game, you have the result. But when you go into another game three or four days later and you start thinking about the previous game, you don’t think about the result. You think about the feeling you had playing that game.”

Bayern resume Bundesliga action away against Wolfsburg on January 30.

Shevchenko: Neuer for Ballon d'Or

The former AC Milan striker hopes the Germany goalkeeper wins the prize, while revealing his fondest memories of Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti

Andriy Shevchenko believes Manuel Neuer should win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo, who won the prize last year, is the favourite to do so again on January 12, but there has been growing support for the Bayern Munich goalkeeper to be handed the individual award.

Shevchenko won the Ballon d’Or in 2004 after lifting the Champions League with AC Milan and has thrown his backing behind Neuer on the back of his World Cup win with Germany.

“Neuer is fantastic because he is more than just a traditional goalkeeper,” he said to Fifa’s official website.

“I still think Cristiano and Messi are the favourites. Ronaldo won the Champions League and was the star. All three have the potential to be big winners, but I would choose Neuer because I think he did something special in the World Cup and also during his season with Bayern. He was fantastic throughout the year.”

The former Ukraine striker then spoke about Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti and recalled his fondest memories of the Italian from their time together at San Siro.

My best memory is winning the Champions League with him. The team had so much courage and had a perfect relationship with the coach. Carlo was a great coach and a great friend of the players.”