He will be remembered for his genius on the pitch as one of football’s greatest midfielders, as well as for his razor-sharp analysis as a TV pundit in later years - Gunter Netzer is without doubt an icon of German football.
In an exclusive video interview with FIFA.com, the 69-year-old said: “I trust myself to address things when they really are bad. It’s my character, it’s in my nature. And it was just the same when I was playing!”
The No10 with the flowing blonde hair lifted the 1972 UEFA European Championship trophy with Germany, before then triumphing at the FIFA World Cup™ two years later on home soil. At club level he also amassed countless honours with Real Madrid and Borussia Monchengladbach, including a famous DFB Cup victory in 1973.
Left on the bench for the game against bitter rivals FC Koln, German football’s ‘rebel’ substituted himself into the game in extra time, with the score level at 1-1, and scored the winning goal minutes later. “It’s become a completely different world,” he said, of football today.
Netzer is also looking ahead, brimming with anticipation, to next year’s World Cup in Brazil, where Germany will take their place as one of the favourites. “Germany fans need their team to win a major trophy once again. Expectations are very, very, high,” says the Monchengladbach native.
However, he believes the situation is no different for the hosts, nor for Lionel Messi’s Argentina, whom Netzer is especially excited to see in action: “Players like him are why you go out and play. Watching him is really something special!”
Click the link above to watch the complete video interview and to hear what Germany’s Footballer of the Year in 1972 and 1973 has to say on the game’s changes and developments, as well as his views on humility, pressure and obsession.