"The sun may go down, but Birgit Prinz will remain forever". A fitting tribute from the stadium announcer at the Volksbank Stadion in Frankfurt, where Germany's record caps holder appeared for her official farewell match on Tuesday evening. Indeed, Birgit Prinz may have brought an end to her long and illustrious career, but she will always remain in fans' hearts as one of the greatest women ever to play the beautiful game.
To mark the occasion, the German women's national team took on 1. FFC Frankfurt, the club synonymous with Prinz's success, at the home of FSV Frankfurt, where the three-time FIFA Women's World Player began her professional career at the tender age of 15.
"It was a good game and a nice evening," said Prinz afterwards. "I had a lot of fun and was delighted that the national team and 1. FFC Frankfurt could make it as both have been like second homes for me. The only sadness came from my dad. He had to fight back the tears. Perhaps that will come for me later."
In her final appearance for both teams (Prinz played one half for each), the two-time world champion once again demonstrated her undeniable class, netting for either side in a 6-3 success for Silvia Neid's national ensemble, which also included FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™ Organising Committee President Steffi Jones.
Any suggestions that her second strike was offside were brushed off with a smile: "Rubbish! I was clearly behind the ball when it was played." The officials were certainly not going to deny Prinz her final goal on what was a wonderful evening for the numerous personalities from the women's game who turned out to honour Germany's record goalscorer, who hit the net 128 times for her country. "It felt a bit weird that they all came here just for me," said the humble 34-year-old. "It's made me very happy."
Nor did DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach miss the opportunity to attend and he was full of praise for "one of the greatest ambassadors the DFB has ever had. What Birgit Prinz has done for women's football is unparalleled. She has put her stamp on the sport far beyond the borders of Germany. She's a mark of quality throughout the world. She has set new benchmarks with her success which are going to be very difficult to emulate."
The FIFA Women's World Cup record goalscorer (14, together with Brazil's Marta) will not be hanging up her boots entirely. Prinz is currently keeping herself fit with women's second-division outfit 1899 Hoffenheim, though her focus is a work-experience placement with the club's sports psychologist Dr. Jan Mayer.
"I'm responsible for any issues regarding the first team and the youth academy," explained Prinz, who completed a degree in psychology alongside her playing career. "Sometimes I work alone, other times I just observe. It's all about psychological diagnostics and training to be a coach."
Prinz is determined to remain in sport and football in particular. "The fact is that I'd like to establish myself as a psychologist in the area of sport and management," she told FIFA.com. "Psychology plays an important role in football because individual development and motivation are fundamental parts of any personal or team success. There are several related areas one can work in as part of a club."
And as anyone who has followed Prinz's stellar career in the game will know, her chances of success in the field are second to none.