Beckenbauer bashes Bulls

Football legend Franz Beckenbauer has harshly criticised Red Bull Salzburg’s (RBS) strategy.

The ex-Germany captain told the Salzburger Nachrichten on Saturday: “A team have to find each other and ‘grow’, but there have been too many changes going on at Red Bull (Salzburg). Every year, there is another wave of new players. How is that supposed to work?”

Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player in 1974 and as a manager in 1990, compared RBS to German Football Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg. He said: “It is similar in Wolfsburg where (coach) Felix Magath buys a large number of players. Continuity is important.”

RBS beat newly promoted FC Admira 2-1 yesterday (Sun). The club funded by energy drink producer Red Bull failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League ever since it was founded in 2005. RBS won the Austrian Bundesliga three times. They came second in the past season. RBS manager Ricardo Moniz came under pressure when his side suffered several defeats away from home in a row. However, RBS recently managed to raise their game. Now the Salzburg-based squad are in fifth place, four points down from leaders SV Ried (31 points).

Beckenbauer claimed some RBS stars only played well in international competition like the UEFA Europa League when they were aware of the immense attention by foreign agents, scouts and club bosses. “Some consider Salzburg as nothing but a trampoline to a club abroad. They have their mind and heart somewhere else but not on their current club,” the ex-Bayern Munich player, coach and president said speaking to the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

Asked for his opinion on RBS’ transfer decision-making, the ex-defender nicknamed Kaiser Franz said: “Do they really need so many Brazilians? There are enough talented players around here. We at Bayern (Munich) helped young players like Toni Kroos in their personal development.”

Beckenbauer – who lives in Salzburg – added: “Speaking about foreign players in general, it has to be stressed that (RBS) will never find a really good footballer who can boost their performance in international competition.”

More and more active and retired players, referees and managers admit being struck down by depression and burnout due to the high pressure from the public, their superiors and the press. Beckenbauer pointed out that every person’s character and mind were different but made clear that “everyone is under higher pressure today than in the old days.” The renowned football commentator suggested that “we should help referees instead of criticising them all the time.”

Beckenbauer called for a reform of the offside rule and lowering the punishment of players who foul their opponents in the box. The former captain of the national team of Germany also said referees in action in top-flight leagues should all be professionals to properly prepare for their challenges. Referees and linesmen working in the Bundesliga competition in Austria and Germany have regular day jobs in contrast to their counterparts in several other European countries.

Speaking about the upcoming European Football Championship, Beckenbauer told the Salzburger Nachrichten he was convinced that his home country’s team had been under more pressure ahead of the World Cup in 2006 which took place in Germany “despite the great euphoria these days and the latest great results.”

Germany will clash with World Cup 2010 finalists Netherlands, Portugal and Euro1992 champs Denmark in their group B at this summer’s Euro2012 which will take place in Poland and Ukraine. International sports press unanimously labelled the group as the worst case scenario for joint favourites Germany and the Netherlands, but Beckenbauer said being forced to assert oneself in a difficult group was a good thing. “It helps you being focused right from the start,” he explained.

Greece, who won the Euro2004, will play against Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic in group A. Group C features world champions Spain, four-time World Cup winners Italy, Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland and Croatia who are coached by ex-West Ham United ace Slaven Bilic. Ukraine and Sweden will clash in group D. France and Fabio Capello’s English national team were also drawn into the group.

Austria did not manage to qualify for the event. The team finished their qualification stage group as fourth behind Germany, Turkey and Belgium. Marcel Koller replaced Dietmar Constantini as manager of the Austrian national team in October. The Swiss coached the team for the first time last month when the men clad in red and white lost 1-2 against Ukraine. Austria has only won two games this year. Seven matches were lost while two games ended in a draw.