Transfer Tales: Why Hughes ended up at Bayern Munich
Today marks 33 years since Mark Hughes returned to Manchester United, after spells abroad with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The Welshman, who played for the Reds in two periods from 1983-1986 and 1988-1995, recently told UTD Podcast all about his time on loan in the Bundesliga with German giants Bayern.
The season before, Sparky had made the move from United to Barcelona but it did not work out perfectly for the centre-forward in Spain. After one term at the Nou Camp, he was looking for a move away from the Catalan club.
“Well, United said that they wanted to bring me back,” Hughes told the UTD Podcast before he explained why he had to take a detour before he could return to Old Trafford.
“But I had an issue, a tax situation where I needed to be out of the country for a full tax year, which I hadn't been. So they said, ‘Okay, well, we'll get you at the end of the season’, which obviously helped me financially.
“So I knew that United were waiting to sign me at the end of the season, but I needed to go somewhere to play because I was desperate to play. I'd lost my place in in the Barcelona team because they could only have two foreign players. So they replaced me and I couldn't play.”
Sparky’s choice was a season in the Bundesliga, an experience Hughes thoroughly enjoyed. In 23 appearances, the striker found the back of the net seven times and impressed with his all-round play.
“I ended up going to Bayern Munich and had a fantastic time there because it was such a well-run club,” he said.
“And it was such a well-run club because there were so many football people that were in prominent places throughout the club. You think of Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. They were in the top jobs within the club. So they knew exactly how players thought and how they felt off the pitch, or, if they had problems off the pitch, how it was going to affect them on it.”
When opening up about his experience in Barcelona in the UTD Podcast, Hughes said he was, more or less, left to himself in order to settle in into a new country. The situation at Bayern was in strong contrast to his experience in Spain.
“They made sure everything was in place,” Hughes said about the German club.
“I always told the story about Barcelona – I had to try to find a car and I ended up hiring in a car for about six months. It cost me an arm and a leg just because I didn't know how to buy one – it was stupid, really.
“I remember going to Bayern Munich, and I was there for 24 hours. And the next day, I turned up at training and there was a new BMW there for me. After a day! I thought, ‘These guys aren't bad’.”
Despite the Wales international being a hit during his spell in Germany, he could not say no to the opportunity of a move back to the Theatre of Dreams.
“So, if it hadn’t been for the fact that United wanted to bring me back, I would have stayed there because it was a fantastic club,” he revealed.
“They were ahead in terms of sport science, because there was no real understanding of preparation and sports science. In those days, Barcelona were exactly the same as United, [there was] not a great provision for refuelling and hydration strategies. There was nothing like that, but Bayern Munich had everything. And we're talking 25 years ago. They were into it straight away, and then some. They were about 10-15 years ahead of everybody.”