The Bayern Munich fixture will be leaving the club in November, and he joins the podcast to discuss his return after spending time in prison for tax evasion, why he's leaving and the club's pursuit of Leroy Sane.
On the new Planet Fútbol Podcast, SI.com sat down in New York City with Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness, who has been a fixture with the club for 49 years as a player and executive and will step down from his role in November.
You can listen to the full episode in the podcast console below and subscribe to and download the Planet Fútbol Podcast on iTunes. Recent guests include Asif Kapadia, the award-winning director of the new Diego Maradona documentary; USWNT's Crystal Dunn, who discusses her post-Women's World Cup outlook; legendary SI photographer Simon Bruty, who talks about his career and shooting iconic soccer moments; ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who addresses his complicated role in women's soccer; and many more.
Here are some of the standout quotes from the interview (which took place before Hoeness made news this week by saying Bayern would refuse to release players to the German national team if Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was benched in favor of Marc-André Ter Stegen):
On why, after 49 years with Bayern Munich, he decided to leave the club presidency this November:
“Now I am 67, and in February I will be 68, and I think I did not want to let others decide to abolish me. So now it's a very good situation. The club is financially in a fantastic atmosphere, and what is most important, I have the impression that I have found people to replace me. That means Herbert Hainer, the former CEO from Adidas, as president, and as everybody knows we decided to take Oliver Kahn as a CEO replacing Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in two years time. Therefore it happened to come together, my decision to do it and to find the right persons to come back to Bayern. Therefore we decided that, and I decided, but I must tell everybody that I will be in the board for the next three or four years, and if somebody needs advice or if somebody needs my help, I will do it. But I will not push it on the new people. I will be there when they need me, and if they don't need me I will be in the background.”
On how he was able to come back from a two-year jail term for $30 million in tax evasion in 2016 and win back the Bayern presidency later that year with 97% of the vote:
“That was the biggest surprise in my life. I never had the intention to come back, but when I came to an assembly of our members, everybody stood up and there was a standing ovation for I think 10 minutes. And that gave me the signal that they wanted to have me back, and then I decided to come back.”
On whether it was important for him to come back from his jail term and finish with a successful final three years as president of the club:
“Yes. Now it's a perfect situation. The club is in a totally good financial situation. We have a fantastic stadium. It's fully paid for. There's no debt. It is owned by the club 100%. We have a younger team. We replaced [Franck] Ribéry, we replaced [Arjen] Robben. And I have the impression that we are on a good way to having a talented new team in the next two or three years. Therefore I thought it could be the right time to say goodbye.”
On how he thinks Bayern manager Niko Kovac is doing:
“I never understood that he got so much criticism in his first year. He was a young coach. He didn't have the experience of a lot of international games. And nevertheless he made two titles [the Bundesliga and German Cup] in the season. He had to install a new team. Robben and Ribéry were clear that they were finishing … So the situation was difficult for him and to win two titles in such a situation is unbelievable. Therefore I must congratulate him on his first year.”
On whether Bayern is still interested in pursuing Leroy Sané:
“We were very much interested, and we had discussions with him, but he had his big accident and awful injury, and we could not go on with it. Therefore we have to wait now and see how his recovery goes on, and the new people [at Bayern] will have to sit down in January and February and see what's going on with that.”