Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sepp Maier has described Sven Ulreich’s decision to join the German champions as Manuel Neuer’s understudy as “lazy.”
Ulreich, who recorded 200 appearances for Bundesliga rivals VfB Stuttgart in a seven-year period between 2008-2015, sealed a shock move to Bayern, worth in the region of £2.5 million last Tuesday.
Whilst the goalkeeper, who penned a three-year deal at the Allianz Arena, will also be earning £2.5 million in wages each year, both the German media and several former professionals have expressed their concern for the future development of the 26-year-old.
With Neuer constantly being preferred by Bayern manager Pep Guardiola, the likes of former Liverpool number one, Pepe Reina and Tom Starke have found it increasingly hard to obtain game time.
Between Reina and Starke, the two understudies, who are mocked for having the easiest job in the Bundesliga, were only able to accumulate three appearances between themselves last season.
Whilst Ulreich’s arrival will allow Reina to move back to Serie A outfit, S.S.C Napoli just a year after joining the 2013 Champions League champions, it is likely that the 26-year-old will suffer the same fate as his predecessors in being exiled to the dugout for the next three years.
Such an inevitable state of affairs has angered Maier, a former Bayern legend who helped guide the Reds to three consecutive Bundesliga crowns in the 1970’s, with the former Germany international criticising Ulreich’s desire for personal success.
What they said
The 71-year-old told German newspaper Bild: “If he was 35 then I would say okay. However, at 26 years of age, a goalkeeper should be in his best form, and needs to play regularly.
"He still has a lot of time to learn with some of the best trainers and best players in the world at Bayern, but if he had stayed at VfB Stuttgart then he would have had the opportunity to play more.”
Although Ulreich is unlikely to see action until Neuer either pulls up lame, or is dismissed to the dressing room for getting one of his eccentric runs out of goal wrong, the 26-year-old has expressed his decision to join Bayern as a step forward in his career.
The Schorndorf-born player, who represented Germany at both U21 and U19 level, told Bild: “Having spent several years at VfB Stuttgart I felt that it was the right time to seek a new adventure."