Let’s turn back the clock to the ancient pre-pandemic days of 2017. Neymar had just moved to PSG, FC Barcelona were flush with cash, and Borussia Dortmund were about to begin a new season with their star player, Ousmane Dembele. Then came the bombshell. Barca put in a mammoth 100m+ bid for the Frenchman. Dembele went AWOL and refused to train. The wheels were turning and there was nothing BVB could do except take the money.

Back when this was all going down, then Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness decided to weigh in on the transfer. His opinion at the time was, as follows:

“First of all, I must say that Borussia Dortmund has thus far acted very shrewdly and approached the matter very calmly. As a great club, and Dortmund is that now, you sometimes have to show strength. We would have handled it the same way.

The player is also at fault. If the player doesn’t go to practice, then he has to answer for that alone and cannot hide behind his agent. At some point the spectators won’t play along anymore. You cannot treat the players like gods, if they don’t behave like gods.

If Dortmund keep Dembélé, he will pick up the pace again [. . .] He will want to maintain his market value. Then this topic will quiet down again.”