"Hi, I'm Oliver Kahn." That was the modest introduction of the three-time World Goalkeeper of the Year ahead of his exclusive interview with FIFA.com in Munich, Germany. 'The Titan' took time out of his busy schedule recently to answer questions posed by you, the FIFA.com users. Looking back on a glittering career, the legendary keeper offered a fascinating insight into his world, revealing, among other things, why he became a goalkeeper in the first place.
podeston: Do you miss your days as a professional footballer?
No, not really. After 20 years of dedication, you finally reach a point where you're glad to be able to plan your own days and try new things. There are aspects I do miss, though, like the team, the banter, the glamour, the energy, the adrenaline and the great feeling of achieving something as a group.
FRAGAR12: What's your life like now you've finished playing?
Well I'm currently working as a TV commentator for German national team matches, and I'm also taking part in the 'I can do it' project which has been organised by the German Child Protection Association. It's all about motivating children and young people, which is something I'm very passionate about. I visit various schools and speak to children and young people about things like setting personal goals, how to achieve them and self-motivation. As well as that, there are several other charities which I'm involved in, and my main project at the moment is a TV show over in Asia called 'The Kahn Principle: I never give up.' It comes out soon on Chinese television and it's a talent show searching for the latest goalkeeping talent.
velez2007: Why did you become a goalkeeper in the first place?
There's a nice story to that one which I never get tired of telling. When I first began playing youth football as a six-year-old, my grandad bought be a Sepp Maier goalkeeper kit. I couldn't let him down, so I wore it and took my place between the sticks. I really enjoyed myself and never looked back.
Santafe1941: What was the secret to your success?
Discipline always played an important part. I always made sure I put everything into training and I wouldn't rest until I'd achieved my goals. The most important thing, though, was that I had a passion for football. If you have all of those things - enjoyment, passion, motivation and discipline - then anything is possible.
The most important thing was that I had a passion for
football. If you have all of those things - enjoyment, passion,
motivation and discipline - then anything is possible.
Giggino: How did you manage to keep yourself motivated throughout your career without losing the hunger?
Basically you need to be passionate about what you do and have the motivation to keep going, although I have to admit that it was hard sometimes. There were moments where I felt like packing it all in, but I managed to set myself new goals all the time and that was enough to keep me focused. Once you get a taste for success and feel as though you are achieving something through all the hard work you're putting in, you'll keep striving for more.
Laborare: How would you describe yourself in just a few words?
A man of passion and emotion.
juninho13: What was the most unforgettable moment of your career?
Of course the Champions League final we lost in 1999 was a big moment, but our 2001 triumph far eclipsed that disappointment. The 2001 Bundesliga title win when Patrick Andersson scored the championship-winning goal in the last minute was special too, and the 2002 World Cup final against Brazil and the 2006 World Cup on home soil were also great memories.
Kareemismael: Do you remember one save in particular?
There was one save I made in a Champions League group-stage match back in 1999 against Rangers. Someone pulled the ball back from the by-line and one of their strikers smashed it goalwards from about ten yards out. Somehow I managed to parry it onto the bar with my fingertips. That was definitely the most incredible save of my career.
Bata.dadja: Were you ever scared of playing against certain strikers?
I was never scared, but I had a lot of respect for certain players. Strikers like Filippo Inzaghi and Roy Makaay, who luckily played for us later in his career, always seemed to score against me. They weren't necessarily the best forwards around, but somehow they managed to score against us every time. It's a horrible feeling going into a game knowing you're up against someone who always scores against you.
Enrikdeutchs: You only played for two clubs throughout your entire career (Karlsruhe SC and Bayern Munich). Did you ever want to play for another club in another country?
There was a phase in the 2003/04 season when I was quite keen to move clubs. I had offers too, most notably from Manchester United and Barcelona. Things never quite got that far, though, because Bayern gave me everything I wanted - the chance to win both domestic and European titles. It was also important to me to leave a legacy. I'm not the sort of guy who plays for 20 different clubs and then can't identify with any of them. By the end of my career, I think everyone would agree that I'm Bayern Munich through and through, and I'm very proud of that.
By the end of my career, I think everyone would agree that I'm Bayern Munich through and through, and I'm very proud of that.
Arcegallup: What were your thoughts directly after the World Cup final in 2002? We all saw you slumped against the post. What was going through your mind?
First of all I was trying to come to terms with how I could have made such a costly error. I'd played superbly in the previous six matches without making a single mistake, so it was bitterly disappointing and it showed how hard it can be being a goalkeeper. You can't afford to lose concentration for a second because if you do, you'll be severely punished. There is no sympathy for us keepers, and I learned that the hard way. I also knew that I was going to have a big job putting the mistake to the back of my mind and making sure it didn't affect my confidence.
MaverickZero: How did you feel when you were chosen as the Player of the Tournament at the 2002 World Cup? It's quite unusual for a goalkeeper to win the award.
I was very proud, even more so considering how rarely it happens. I was extremely motivated at the time and very confident after winning the Champions League and the World Club Cup the season before, so basically I was really pumped up to do well. Of course I had a bit of luck along the way, but you need that in a World Cup. It was just a shame about the final.
Butigan: What would your advice be to any young, aspiring goalkeepers out there who want to become a pro?
You need to be prepared both physically and mentally. Both aspects are equally important, so you need to train extremely hard. Even if you're a giant who has the perfect physique and all the makings of a great goalkeeper, you need to be able to react to critical situations in the right way, otherwise you won't make it.
At the end of his exclusive interview with FIFA.com, Oliver Kahn chose what he felt was the best question posed by our users. The 39-year-old former shot-stopper picked out Giggino, who asked: How did you keep yourself motivated throughout your whole career without losing the hunger? Congratulations to the winning user, who receives a fantastic prize!