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Mar 18, 2013

Hoeness hits out at Robben criticism

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness believes winger Arjen Robben has a future at the club despite former coach Ottmar Hitzfeld claiming otherwise.

Switzerland boss Hitzfeld told Swiss paper Blick at the weekend that he believes Robben is on his way out of the Bundesliga club as he will not feature in Pep Guardiola's plans next season.

"I reckon Robben will leave Bayern in the summer," he said.

Hitzfeld, a 2001 Champions League winner with Bayern, also believes established players at the club, such as Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller, will face a difficult task to stay in Guardiola's starting line-up.

"Muller is a very important player for Bayern. But if he fits into Guardiola's concept, you don't really know. He is a straight-line player and not exactly a silky-skilled player," Hitzfeld said. "And it remains to be seen if Guardiola does not want a more dangerous player than Kroos in central midfield."

Hoeness, however, speaking to kicker, played down the chances of a possible departure for Robben.

"He's had a good season and will play an important role here, if he stays fit," Hoeness said. "He has always been an individualist and will never pass every ball to his team-mates. That is his strength."

Hoeness had voiced some criticism following Bayern's 2-0 defeat to Arsenal last week and urged his side to stay focused during future matches.

"During those last five minutes in our 2-0 defeat I saw €10 million flashing by," he said.

The former Bayern general manager is known for his loose tongue after defeats, but said Guardiola had nothing to fear from him.

"I only speak up when we lose," Hoeness said. "Actually, it is rather easy for Pep. He only has to win every match and we all remain quiet."

He added: "I am 100% convinced, he will feel comfortable here. He is an open person, emotional, we like that. His contacts will be Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and me. Franz Beckenbauer's influence is zero. I guarantee that Pep will not have any problems with us as we are on one wavelength."

The Bayern legend also revealed it was the club's philosophy that persuaded Guardiola to sign a contract at the Allianz Arena.

"He will earn good money, certainly. But he could have earned more at other clubs," Hoeness said. "The decisive factor was that our philosophy is rather close to Barcelona's. He said: 'It was a great time at Barcelona, but I cannot return there.' That's why it wasn't too difficult for us to attract him."

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