Stefan Effenberg must rank high on the list of footballers you either love or hate. The 1.88-metre former Germany and Bayern Munich midfielder, a physically imposing presence who never shirked a challenge nor looked for a place to hide, struck fear into opponents' hearts. Driven by a burning desire to succeed, filled with a self-belief bordering on the arrogant, and never shy of a provocative statement or action, 'neutral' was never the dominant emotion towards the player from his own and opposing fans alike.
Effe was a real character. Few would dispute the fact that Bayern's 2001 UEFA Champions League triumph was in large part due to his quite unique leadership qualities. But the man capped 35 times by Germany, who was born in Hamburg and also played for Borussia Monchengladbach, Fiorentina, Wolfsburg and Qatar outfit Al Arabi, is also remembered for his curious inability to demonstrate the attributes which so benefited his clubs when he was representing his country.
An extrovert by nature, Effe always shouldered the burden of responsibility on and off the field of play. He always had an opinion, and he was never afraid to voice it. His choice of words made Effenberg, a member of the Team of the Century at both Bayern and Monchengladbach, a controversial figure among the sporting media, although the 41-year-old himself now spends part of his time as a studio expert for German TV.
In this instalment of our FIFA.com monthly series, we review the larger-than-life player's wittiest and most contentious sayings. Read and enjoy the things Stefan Effenberg has said:
"I have one huge problem, damn it: I'm always honest."
Effenberg on himself
"I'm every mother-in-law's nightmare."
Effenberg on himself, again
"Most players see their job like this: 90 minutes of football, then drive home - but I'm not interested in them. This job means more to me than that. There's a show business element, you have to get the place buzzing. The fans want characters and good entertainment."
Effenberg's attitude to his career
"I really don't know whether Bayern would shell out that much. It would be better if they gave the money to me, then I'd run even more."
Effenberg on €60m and €70m transfers
"You're either born with it, or the doctor injects you with it."
Effenberg on the supreme confidence shown by Bayern regulars
"Even if it's impossible, it's still possible."
Effenberg on the danger of ever writing off Bayern
"The situation is hopeless, but not critical."
Effenberg on Bayern's slim chances of a league title
"If we occasionally played the way he sings, we'd be right at the top."
Effenberg on Rod Stewart
"I don't know whether he'll return, although you could definitely give him a new four-year contract."
Effenberg on the 39-year-old Lothar Matthaus, after his former team-mate fell out of favour at New York/New Jersey MetroStars
"Eighteen teams want to be German champions. By the end, Bayern are always the ones celebrating."
Effenberg on the secret of Bayern's success
"The worst thing is - we're still top of the league."
Effenberg after a Bayern defeat away to Werder Bremen
"I wished Berti Vogts all the best for his job in Leverkusen, and told him I hoped he'd finish second again."
Effenberg asked what he had said to the former Germany coach before a table-topping clash between Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen