Lahm warns Kroos: It doesn't get much better than Bayern

The Bavarians veteran utility man thinks that his team-mate would have to be bonkers to want to leave the Allianz Arena during their current wave of success

Philipp Lahm has warned team-mate Toni Kroos that he will not find a bigger or better club than Bayern Munich as the midfielder continues to stall on extending his contract.

The 24-year-old midfielder’s current deal at the Allianz Arena expires in 2015 and faltering negotiations have subsequently seen the Germany international linked to a summer exit, with Manchester United being touted as a potential destination.

However, despite being unsurprised at the drawn-out nature of his contract talks, die Roten veteran Lahm believes it would be ludicrous to leave the European champions.

“It is normal that one explores their position and negotiate,” he told Sport Bild regarding Kroos. “If you currently play for Bayern there are few alternatives, if any, though.

“It is, in my eyes, an absolute privilege to play here because the team simply has the mentality to win. Many players want to come to Bavaria.

“So you have to think carefully about whether you leave a club like this at the moment.”

Lahm also took time to question Uefa president Michel Platini’s proposal for a salary cap, insisting that being paid handsomely is simply a recognition of success.

“I am opposed to restricting individual players’ wages,” he added. “The salary is always an appreciation and a reflection of a player’s performance.”

Rafinha joy at end to Brazil exile

The defender is understandably delighted to be back in the Selecao squad after spending five years in the international wilderness

Bayern Munich full-back Rafinha has expressed his joy at being named in the Brazil squad for the upcoming international friendly against South Africa on March 5.

The defender, who represented his country at Under-20 and Under-23 level, won his only senior international cap in 2008, but was on Tuesday brought back into the Selecao fold by Luis Felipe Scolari.

“I’m very happy at being called up by the national team,” Rafinha wrote on Twitter.

“I promise to honour the shirt like I always have! Thanks to everybody who always supported me.”

Maicon was Dani Alves’ understudy in the previous squad for the friendlies against Honduras and Chile in November but Scolari’s right-hand man Carlos Alberto Parreira has made it clear that Brazil’s focus is on creating genuine strength in depth.

“Scolari made it clear that the basic idea was to observe at least three players in every position,” Parreira told SporTV News.

“This is to combat the unforeseen that happen each season. We had already utilised Daniel and Maicon a lot. We needed a third name.”

Rafinha has established himself in the Bayern starting XI this season, having been aided by Pep Guardiola’s decision to convert Philipp Lahm into a midfielder.

Allianz buys stake in Bayern Munich

The German financial services company has invested €110 million in the club, becoming the third major Bavarian force to buy into the European champions after Adidas and Audi

Bayern Munich have announced that Allianz have acquired an 8.33 per cent stake in the club.

Allianz, which already holds the naming rights to the Bundesliga outfit’s stadium, has invested €110 million in the reigning European champions, thus becoming the third Bavarian company after Adidas and Audi to agree such a deal.

“Today is a big day for FC Bayern,” said Bayern president Uli Hoeness. “The club’s executive committee and advisory committee approved this decision unanimously.

“With the three Bavarian companies Allianz, Adidas and Audi, FC Bayern has a Triple-A of partners. It is a dream and we are very proud, because it shows the strength of this club.”

Bayern have also revealed that the €110m gained from the deal will be spent on the club’s remaining obligations on the Allianz Arena, thereby making the stadium debt free, and on the planned reconstruction of the Bayern youth facility in Munich.

Following the Allianz deal, 75 per cent of Bayern’s stock remains in the hands of the club’s members, more than fulfilling the obligations of all Bundesliga clubs to have at least 50% plus one share under the ownership of fans.

Podolski: I regret leaving Bayern

The Germany international thinks he could still be at the Allianz Arena now had he shown a bit more patience during his time with the Bavarians

Arsenal attacker Lukas Podolski has admitted that he regrets leaving Bayern Munich for Koln in the summer of 2009.

The Germany international moved to the Allianz Arena from the RheinEnergieStadion in 2006 only to then return to his boyhood club three years later, after a difficult 2008-09 campaign in which he made just 14 Bundesliga starts.

However, Podolski now feels he would have been better off staying at Bayern, particularly as Jupp Heynckes was appointed coach just days after his departure.

“From a sporting point of of view, my return to Koln was not very helpful for my career,” the Arsenal attacker told Sport Bild.

“I think that I would now still have been with Bayern if only Jupp Heynckes had arrived at the club one or two weeks earlier.

“He really wanted to hold on to me.”

Podolski was briefly linked with Schalke during the January transfer window, but he has stressed that a return to the Bundesliga was never an option.

“That was just a rumour,” the 28-year-old insisted. “There was absolutely no truth in it. The manager [Arsene Wenger] has confirmed that to me. And I know that there was nothing to it myself, too.”

Podolski has a contract with Arsenal until June 2016.

Rummenigge replaces Rosell on ECA's Uefa board

The Bayern Munich director, already chairman of the European Club Association, will stand in for the ex-Barcelona president in Uefa’s Professional Football Strategy Council

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will stand in for Sandro Rosell on Uefa’s Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) following the Spaniard’s resignation from the Barcelona presidency.

Rosell relinquished all of his roles within the European Club Association (ECA) after standing down at Camp Nou in January amid legal issues relating to the Blaugrana‘s signing of Neymar from Santos in the summer of 2013.

As a result, Rummenigge, who already holds the post of ECA chairman, will temporarily take Rosell’s place as one of the organisation’s four representatives in the PFSC alongside Arsenal’s Ivan Gazidis, AC Milan’s Umberto Gandini and Evgeni Giner of CSKA Moscow.

An ECA spokesperson has confirmed to Goal that Rosell’s responsibilities are still to be redistributed, but that Rummenigge has stepped into his position on the Uefa panel.

“All positions held by Sandro Rosell (Member ECA Executive Board, Member UEFA PFSC, Chairmanship ECA Marketing Working Group, 2nd Vice-Chairmanship) stay vacant for the time being. The decision was postponed to a further meeting. It will be taken before the end of the season,” the spokesperson confirmed.

“Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who already has an observer status in the PFSC, will take a more active role until the successor of Sandro Rosell is appointed.”

Rummenigge, who recently called upon Uefa to take action against Paris Saint-Germain as part of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, will now have a greater say in PFSC meetings relating to all areas of European football.