Jurgen Klinsmann and Danny Williams have championed the Bundesliga’s ‘Common Ground’ project and the effect it could have on the opportunities for young people in soccer around the globe.
The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga launched the project earlier this month with the aim of ‘renovating and revitalising football pitches around the world to offer more young people the opportunity to play and enjoy football’.
Pitches have already been unveiled in Lagos (Nigeria), Mexico City (Mexico) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Further sites are planned in Germany, Argentina, Poland, the USA, and South East Asia.
Speaking exclusively to 90min on the project, former Germany and United States head coach and legendary forward Klinsmann explained the importance of the project in offering more opportunities in soccer for young people.
“A project like this, Common Ground, and the initiative from the Bundesliga is outstanding,” said Klinsmann. “And it’s really, really, really important to do this type of project, because you want to catch the kids out there playing their own game, improvising their own game, doing their own stuff, in order to fall in love with the game, and that’s street soccer, pick up games, whatever it is.
“This is the foundation of everything. And I think it’s hugely important to have more of these projects all over the place, all over the city, and all over other cities. And I think it’s a great starting point what the Bundesliga is doing now.”
Former USMNT midfielder Danny Williams – who played for the likes of Freiburg, Hoffenheim, Reading, and Huddersfield Town across his club career – agreed with Klinsmann, but also focused on the ‘community’ and ‘cultural’ benefits of bringing people together with soccer.
“Events like this remind me of when I was a kid, when my parents took me to different pitches where I was running after football, because it brings the people together,” Williams told 90min.
“I think from a cultural aspect, you can see that soccer is for everyone, whatever race, whatever community you belong to. I think events like this… I hope there’s going to be more of them because it’s super important. It brings people together and actually educates people on culture.”
Klinsmann and Williams spoke to 90min at the ‘Bundesliga Common Ground Project Event’ in NYC. For information and more from Williams and Klinsmann, check out our latest our article here and more of our video content from the event on our Twitter and Instagram.
Borussia Dortmund director sounds Jude Bellingham warning to Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund managing director Carsten Cramer has told Liverpool not to expect any “gifts” in their pursuit of Jude Bellingham.
Liverpool have been interested in 19-year-old Bellingham for some time and look set to ramp up their efforts to sign him in 2023.
With the Englishman’s contract at Dortmund not expiring until the summer of 2025 though, interested clubs know they will have to pay a substantial figure to prise him away – with competition for his signature likely to further raise his price.
Liverpool supporters are hoping that Jurgen Klopp’s relationship with his former club will give them an advantage over their rivals, with the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea known admirers of Bellingham.
But Cramer has admitted that while Liverpool would be the club he’d most like Bellingham to join – because of the links to Klopp – Dortmund won’t be doing the Reds any favours when it comes to doing business.
“We have a high sympathy for Liverpool for sure. We are still in a good relationship with Jurgen and many others at Liverpool, so for me, it’s my preferred club in the EPL as well,” Cramer said during Dortmund’s winter tour of Vietnam.
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“But don’t expect that we will make gifts to Liverpool,”
Cramer continued: “He (Bellingham) has a contract. I’m a sales person regarding commercial business, but not regarding the player’s business.
“We are happy to have him on board a hundred percent and the longer Jude will play for us, the better it will be.”
90min understands that Dortmund remain hopeful of keeping Bellingham for another season, with the player yet to make a decision about his future.
As well as the heavyweight Premier League interest, Bellingham has also attracted the attention of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus – though the resignation of the latter’s board over financial irregularities is likely to scupper any future bid.
Oliver Kahn discusses Bayern Munich’s interest in Harry Kane
Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn has again admitted that he is an admirer of Tottenham striker Harry Kane ahead of a potential summer transfer.
90min has previously reported of Bayern’s interest in Kane, with Spurs growing concerned in their open courtship of the England captain. The Premier League club are, however, confident that he will sign a new contract, with his current deal due to expire in 2024.
Speaking to Sky Germany, Kahn, who has spoken plenty about Kane in recent months, was once more asked about his interest in the striker.
“Of course, he’s a very good player, but there are also many other very good players. I’ve read that everywhere – Oliver Kahn and Harry Kane, Hasan [Salihamidzic, sporting director] and Harry Kane,” Kahn said.
“We’re considering many, many players and it’s not okay to talk about players who are under contract at other clubs. Once again: We have a very good squad that is doing an excellent job at the moment.”
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Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann first admitted his own interest in Kane in the summer, though insisted he did not know if such a transfer would be affordable.
This angered Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte, who claimed that Die Roten’s public admiration of Kane was ‘disrespectful’.
Bayern Munich confident over deal to sign midfield target
Bayern Munich believe they have finalised an agreement to take Konrad Laimer to the Allianz Arena, sources have told 90min.
Bayern made a summer bid for RB Leipzig’s star midfielder, who is in the final year of his contract, but could not agree terms and they instead landed Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch.
Laimer has since emerged as a target for Liverpool who were considering a move for him in the New Year, but the Premier League side have now learned from representatives around the deal that the player does indeed want to move to Munich.
The 25-year-old Austrian, who has just recovered from a knee injury, was annoyed at the summer move to Bayern collapsing, but he knew the issue was on both sides and did not hold that against the Bundesliga champions.
90min has been told that the interest from England over the past 12 months, firstly from Manchester United and then Liverpool, had turned his head but his heart was always set on a move to Bayern.
Now Bayern believe terms are agreed and they will seal his signature on a pre-contract, which would in theory see him moving to Munich on a five-year deal in the summer.
However, Bayern do have an interest in taking Laimer in January, but that would need Leipzig’s agreement.
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