Thomas Muller refused to quell speculation about his future at Bayern Munich, sticking to the line that it would be decided in the summer.
Muller has been a one-club man, and a participant in a glittering era of success at Bayern. He has won eight Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in over 500 games for his boyhood club, but this season has not been so smooth, despite his popularity with the fans.
Muller was all but sidelined by Niko Kovac early this year, and although he’s started all but two of the team’s last 15 games he knows his place is not guaranteed, and is happy to do whatever is best for the club.
“There will probably be a decision one way or another about my contract in the summer,” he told The Athletic. “We will see.
“No-one picks the team according to the loudest cheers from supporters. I don’t like it when someone says the club need me because of all those other factors, I don’t want to be in the team because of that.
“For me, it’s all about football and performance. No-one deserves to be in a team because they’re maybe more recognisable as a face and good for marketing.
“That’s all good and well but you have to earn your place. If I felt I could no longer help the team and they played better without me, then that’s how it is. It’s all about FC Bayern winning.”
He was also asked how he’d feel if the club signed two players in his position.
“That’s also fine,” he added.
“You could see that as a message. But I knew that could happen when I signed my contract. There’s always competition at FC Bayern and at other top clubs.
“Competition is never a problem. The club and the coach make their decisions. Your job as a player is to deal with them.”
Muller also said he was close to leaving Bayern in 2014 when Louis van Gaal was in charge, and seriously considered Manchester United, saying: “Things were serious when Louis van Gaal came in [in 2015], for all sides involved.”
“I could imagine going to Man Utd then. But the club said: “We want you to stay”. I wasn’t out of contract, that’s why it was pretty clear-cut in the end. But it wasn’t just a poker game.