RUMMENIGGE: WITHOUT MESSI, BARCELONA HAD THEIR SOUL RIPPED OUT.

Former Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was full of praise for the German club after their 3-0 victory against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night, as they got their  Champions League campaign off to a great start.

Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the 34th minute before Robert Lewandowski added the second and third goals in the 56th and 85th minutes respectively, but Rummenigge focused on the way in which Barcelona appear to be a different team without Lionel Messi in their ranks.

“They played outstandingly well and deserved to win. It’s too early to talk about favourites. [The competition] only really starts with the knockout phase,” Rummenigge told Bild after Bayern’s 3-0 win against Barcelona.

“If you look at the team, the way they performed tactically. Without Messi, their souls have been ripped out. They are facing difficult times.

“It was imperative to sell him. The Spanish league has scored an own goal with him.”

Rummenigge was asked about Lewandowski’s future at Bayern and whether the club may turn to Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland as a possible replacement for the Pole.

“With Lewandowski you have the best striker in the world. Haaland is the second best,” Rummenigge noted.

“I think Bayern have an interest in Robert staying beyond the end of his contract in 2023.

“Haaland is an investment. I don’t think he will go to Liverpool. With Haaland, I wouldn’t rule out Real Madrid either. Maybe they will dip into their kitty a bit more in the summer and possibly get Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United was also put to the former Bayern CEO, who told a story from the Portuguese forward’s time at Juventus.

“He is a phenomenon! He’s 36 years old, he’s played 20 years at this level,” Rummenigge commented.

“He has an upper body like Adonis. I remember a situation when I was in Turin.

“He was standing behind a door with his hands in the air. I asked him: ‘What are you doing?’

“And he said: ‘I’m practising the celebration of my next goal…'”