FC Bayern: Top scorer Giovane Elber wanted to force his departure in 2001

New insights from the ex-scorer

Giovane Elber had his longest and most successful stint at a club in his six years at Bayern. Between 1997 and 2003, the former striker played 266 games for the German record champions, scored 139 goals, played 57 more and won 14 titles. One of them was the Champions League in 2001, after which there should have been a farewell from Munich if Elber had had his way. The 50-year-old revealed this in an interview with the “table football“.

When asked if he never wanted to leave FC Bayern, he said: “I wanted that, it just didn’t work out.” Elber looked back on the time after the success in the “premier class” when he had the feeling “having to change, wanting to experience something new”. The striker was 29 at the time and had played for AC Milan, Zurich Grasshoppers and VfB Stuttgart before coming to Munich. He learned from his advisor at the time that FC Barcelona and Real Madrid were said to have been interested in him. “Spain would have been exactly what would have appealed to me,” emphasized Elber. Since his contract was valid until 2004, club president Franz Beckenbauer “didn’t let himself be talked to”. The club boss was keen to keep Elber in the club. On the evening of the Champions League victory in 2001, Beckenbauer approached the attacker and told him he had to stay. When asked how much Elber wanted to stay, he replied: “Franz, I already earn way too much money. I love the club, but at the age of 29 I would like to experience something new.”

Because the talks with FC Bayern were difficult, Elber decided to “tell confused things in interviews” in order to make a transfer possible. “My wife wouldn’t feel well anymore and our cleaning lady wouldn’t get a residence permit. She has been with us for years and has long been part of the family, so we would not be able to stay in Munich without her. All that nonsense. When I think back on it today, I still get fits of laughter,” said Elber. After the summer break, a phone call with the then manager Uli Hoeneß led to the end of the tension. “I let myself be blinded by the supposed offers that I didn’t even get personally,” said Elber, who then spent two more years at Bayern before there was no longer a place for him in the squad.

Elber: Bayern farewell 2003 “was really hard” – change to AS Monaco burst

Although Elber was Bundesliga top scorer with 21 goals in the 2002/03 season, Roy Makaay, another attacker, came for the new season for the then record sum of 19.75 million euros. Elber was then informed that he was in the ranking behind Makaay and the two talents Claudio Pizarro and Roque Santa Cruz. “It was really hard,” said Elber. He was drawn to Olympique Lyon for EUR 4.2 million, although a move to AS Monaco was “already fixed” in the meantime. “I was already sitting in Munich with those responsible for both clubs. Shortly before the contract was signed, however, it was suddenly said that AS could not sign me because another transfer would have failed. I was suddenly standing in the rain. That was a shock at first,” said Elber. The first signs were that compatriot Juninho, then active at Olympique Lyon, got in touch and asked if Elber would come to Lyon.

With Nianzou, Hargreaves & Co.: The 15 most expensive sales by FC Bayern

15 – Mario Gomez | 2013 for €15.5m to Fiorentina

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As of September 15, 2022

12 – Tanguy Nianzou | 2022 for €16 million to FC Sevilla

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12 – Sebastian Rudy | 2018 for €16 million to FC Schalke

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12 – Luiz Gustavo | 2013 for €16 million to VfL Wolfsburg

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11 – Medhi Benatia | 2017 for €16.7m to Juventus Turin

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10 – Arturo Vidal | 2018 for €18m to FC Barcelona

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9 – Renato Sanches | 2019 for €20m to LOSC Lille

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6 – Mario Mandzukic | 2014 for €22m to Atlético Madrid

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6 – Mario Goetze | 2016 for €22m to Borussia Dortmund

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6 – Thiago | 2020 for €22m to Liverpool

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4 – Owen Hargreaves | 2007 for €25m to Manchester Utd.

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4 – Toni Kroos | 2014 for €25m to Real Madrid

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3 – Mats Hummels | 2019 for €30.5m to Borussia Dortmund

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2 – Douglas Costa | 2018 for €40m to Juventus Turin

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His time with the French was short, he played there for just a year and a half. In January 2005 he returned to Germany to join Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he only played five games in a year due to injury before moving to his native Brazil to EC Cruzeiro to end his career there in September 2006.

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