The world of football is today mourning the death of German international goalkeeper Robert Enke, who was hit by a train on Tuesday evening near his home at Neustadt am Rubenberge in Lower Saxony. A statement confirming the 32-year-old’s passing was announced by police just hours after the tragedy occurred.
The announcement caused great shock in Germany and around the world. "The international football community has just learnt of the tragic death of Robert Enke. At this most difficult time, our thoughts are with his wife and family, to whom we send our heartfelt wishes," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, currently on an official trip to Mexico.
The German international football team, who are preparing for Saturday’s friendly against Chile in Cologne, were also struggling to come to terms with the news. "We’re shocked and deeply saddened. Our sincere condolences go to Robert Enke’s wife and family. He was an extraordinary person, who had to overcome some terrible adversity in his life," said Theo Zwanziger, President of the German Football Association. "We’re all in shock, I don’t know what to say," added Oliver Bierhoff, Germany’s national coach. In addition to this morning’s training session, the German team have suspended all interviews planned for today.
"I’m very sad. When you learn of a tragedy like this, nothing else matters," said German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, almost lost for words. On Tuesday night, around 300 fans, players and locals gathered to lay flowers and light candles at the gates of Enke’s club, Hannover 96. They also formed the figure '96' with candles in his memory.
Enke played for Germany eight times in his career, including five qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010. In addition to the Bundesliga, where he played for Hannover 96 and Borussia Monchengladbach, Enke also had spells abroad with Benfica, Barcelona, Fenerbache and Tenerife, among others
At the Camp Nou, Barça held a minute’s silence in his memory on Tuesday night before their Copa del Rey match against third-tier Cultural Leonesa. Wearing black armbands, the players stood with heads bowed as classical music played in the background.
Christian Wulff, Minister-President of the Federal State of Lower Saxony, also expressed his condolences: "Germany has lost an extraordinary sportsman and a compassionate person who was a role model to many people. We mourn his passing."