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Friday, August 25, 2006
Hargreaves demands respect from Bayern

England midfielder Owen Hargreaves said Bayern Munich executives were aware of his continued interest in a transfer to Manchester United even if he realises they do not want to let him go home.

In an interview with Bild newspaper on Friday, Hargreaves said it was out of his hands whether the two clubs would be able to reach a deal by the Aug. 31 close of the transfer window but he made clear he has not given up hope of a transfer.

'I've given everything to Bayern Munich for the last nine years and I want to be treated with respect,' said Hargreaves, 25. 'I simply want it to be accepted that Manchester would be a great step for me.'

Canadian-born Hargreaves was voted England's best player at the World Cup finals in a poll by the Football Association.

He has been at Bayern since joining the club as a teenager in 1997 and his current contract runs through June 2010.

Bayern sporting director Uli Hoeness has criticised Hargreaves for publicly expressing his desire to go.

Hoeness has repeatedly rejected a reported offer of 25 million euros ($32 million) and said he wouldn't sell Hargreaves for 50 million euros.

'The manager doesn't want to let me go. That's his right,' said Hargreaves. 'But he knows exactly what I want.'

Asked by Bild if that was an immediate transfer, he said: 'It's simply a great challenge. I'm an England player, part of my family lives near Manchester. A lot of things come together.'

Hargreaves was hit with a 25,000-euro fine from Bayern this week for insubordination after he called the Manchester United offer 'simply fantastic'.

Hargreaves on Friday defended his decision to extend his contract last year to 2010 in Munich.

'It was a great honour for me at the time,' he said. 'In the meantime, a lot of things have developed for me in a different way. I have a great chance to become a key player for England.'

Hargreaves, whom Bayern hoped could fill a void left when Michael Ballack left for Chelsea, said he is not worried about being banished to the bench.

'The coach knows what I can do,' he said. 'And so do the fans. I always give everything I have. That won't change no matter where I play.'

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has threatened to report Manchester United to FIFA if they do not give up their pursuit of Hargreaves.

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