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Schneider on Schalke chaos: "We're cannibalizing ourselves"

By Peter Vice

The sensational news came thick and fast out of Gelsenkirchen yesterday. Germany's sporting media had plenty of questions for Schalke's head-of-sport Jochen Schneider. 

Schalke's top executive faced the reporters one day after all the turbulence. 

Jochen Schneider.
Jochen Schneider.

Germany's SportBild plucked the most candid quote to headline their story on the continually deteriorating Schalke crisis. "We're cannibalizing ourselves," Jochen Schneider conceded on Wednesday, "Schalke is a club of extremes. We love each other when things are going especially well. At the moment we are tearing each other apart."


Schneider had quite a bit to answer for after all of the chaos on Tuesday. The public dust-up between intransigent personalities Naldo and Vedad Ibisevic is likely to serious divide the club for the rest of the season. Schneider spoke on the controversy and a host of other topics in various interviews.

Ibisevic vs. Naldo
Many German commentators were critical of Naldo's appointment. Given how the newly-acquired Ibisevic had made a point of forgoing his salary and contributing to local causes, the issue stokes a firestorm of controversy not likely to soon subside. Schneider did his utmost to smooth matters over.

"Ibisevic wanted more playing time," he said, "We openly discussed this matter in a conversation, coming to the agreement that the partnership did not proceed as both parties had envisioned it. We remain friends. Vedad has gone to Berlin to visit his family. He had hoped for more playing time. In the end, it just didn't work. We parted company on good terms."

The suspensions of Amine Harit and Nabil Bentaleb
Both players, given their recent history with the Königsblauen, are most assuredly on their way out; possibly as early as the January transfer window. Schneider took care to emphasize that this needn't be so.

"Of course they both have the chance to return," he noted, "Every last single player must understand that it's all about Schalke 04 at this point. It's about winning matches so that we can win play in the top division this season. It isn't about how one player or administrator feels. It's about the team. Egoism must be purged from the team; purged from the club."


The reallocation of responsibility after Michael Reschke's departure
Schneider had some rumors to dispel.

"I would like to deny reports that Sascha Riether will be promoted to sporting director," he stressed, "A potential successor is not at the top of the agenda right now. We have agreed that we will redistribute the shares of responsibilities on several shoulders. I will shoulder [some of it] as well."

On the state of the team
The head-of-sport obviously had to address the team amid all of these changes. Schneider spoke honestly about his expectations.

"It was not anticipated that everyone would link arms immediately," he remarked, "We need to cultivate a team spirit to remain in the Bundesliga. I spoke to the team about that today. The whole crew made an orderly impression."

On the public impression and his level of internal support
Again, Schneider seemed blunt and forthright. The administrator obviously saw no need to paint too rosy a picture.

"It's quite alright that we're getting our faces kicked in at the moment," he admitted, "We deserve it. In this case, criticism is earned. The [public] beatings are justified. I feel I have support [from the club's board], but I honestly don't need it. I do my job as best I can. I don't need full support, commitment, or anything else."

On how Schalke can weather the storm
For Schneider, continued public strife stands as greatest danger.

"We have to stick together," he maintained, "If we can manage a cohesive front, we can get through this crisis. We have to be careful, not to allow ourselves to be completely divided. The image that we're currently presenting; where things keep leaking out. That, to me, is devastating. Devastating!"



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