Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer have leapt to the defence of the departing Niklas Sule following criticism from club legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Sule confirmed earlier this week that he would exit Bayern when his current contract expires at the end of this season, despite being offered a new deal by the German champions.
The 26-year-old defender’s decision led to Rummenigge stating he “never really asserting himself in his position” at Bayern.
Sule joined Bayern from Hoffenheim in 2017 and has made 159 appearances for the club, winning four Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal crowns as well as the 2019-20 Champions League.
Former Bayern skipper Stefan Effenberg chimed in, adding Sule “decided against sporting success and for more money”.
“I’ve only read it and haven’t spoken to him about it yet,” Nagelsmann told Sky when asked about Rummenigge’s comments.
“Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is so regarded that he can say things. In the end it is important that Niklas performs well. That’s more important than interviews.”
He continued: “He has a contract situation that allows him to make a change. One can understand that.
“We will have a very good central defender again next year. We have to see what’s going on in the transfer market. Everyone would have liked to keep him.”
Sule put in a full shift in Saturday’s 3-2 win over RB Leipzig, with Bayern captain Neuer admitting his departure hurts but defending his decision to leave.
“It annoys us all that Niklas is going,” Neuer told Sky . “He’s a very good player, we’ll miss him.
“He came from Hoffenheim, that was the way until he worked his way up to his peak performance. It’s a process – and I think you can say today that it has succeeded.”
He added: “When a player decides to go a different route, everyone lives their own career, you accept such decisions.”