They Said It

They Said It: Oliver Kahn

Oliver Kahn poses in front of a portrait of himself
© Getty Images

Oliver Kahn is a man who needs little introduction: FIFA World Cup™ runner-up, UEFA EURO 1996 winner, German league and cup winner, 2001 UEFA Champions League winner and Club World Cup winner. The list goes on.

On top of that, Kahn’s haul of individual awards demonstrates his place in football history: Best Player and Goalkeeper at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, World Goalkeeper of the Year in 1999, 2001 and 2002, as well as European Goalkeeper of the Year in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Six years after his retirement, the former custodian remains a well-known and popular figure around the world. In May 2008, after 21 years and 86 international appearances (49 as captain), Kahn donned his gloves for the last time in the professional game. Once retired, Kahn worked as a television pundit, studied for a masters and did some goalkeeper scouting in Japan. Now 45, his life remains as colourful as ever. presents a selection of memorable quotes from the German, reflecting both his unbridled ambition and humorous self-deprecation.
"It’s one-dimensional to say titles are the only thing that last in a career. What’s the point if you win 100,000 titles but are an idiot as a person? Nothing."
Kahn about values in the life of a professional footballer

"There was no one there to celebrate with so I had to use the corner flag."
*The goalkeeper’s explanation for emotionally ripping a corner flag out of the ground after the final whistle

*"Footballers are the best indicators. If no one talks about stocks, like at present with everyone suffering heavy losses, then this is the best time to buy. I affectionately call this a team indicator."
About the cliché that after training footballers check the stock market

*"I thought the goalkeeper was allowed to use his hands in the area." *
**After going up for a corner in the final minutes, punching the ball into the net and getting sent off

*"I could have put my kit bag in goal today and we would have conceded two fewer goals." *
**After the humiliating 5-1 home defeat to England in FIFA World Cup qualification.

"You’ve got to score in your first game as Germany captain."
**Justifying his own goal in Germany’s 7-1 win against Israel

"We bathed in adrenalin today!"
*After Bayern Munich’s 6-2 win against Borussia Dortmund

**"Every goal we concede is an insult to me."
Explaining his exceptional motivation on the pitch

"We’ve got to sign a goalkeeper. We won’t win anything with the one we’ve got at the moment."
Kahn’s answer to which position Bayern Munich needed to strengthen in the season ahead*
"I want to stop this nightclubbing nonsense. I have had enough of this superficial lifestyle. I recognise how little it brings to your life: nothing. My life is solely about doing what I can: playing football, standing between the posts."
Kahn on his attitude change

**Bayern Munich’s goalkeeper on what he expected in the New Year

*"If the pen doesn’t fall out of my hand, then there’s nothing to stop it from happening."
As he signed a three-year extension to his contract at Bayern Munich

*"I heard we were leading the fairness table. I had to step in."
The goalkeeper after picking up a yellow card for talking back

*"It was another case of style without substance.”*
**After a 0-0 home draw with Bayern

*"I only chew one piece. Two would be too many. It’s energy sapping."
Germany’s No1 on his quirk of chewing gum in games

"We’re dying to travel to Hamburg. The whole stadium will be against us. All of Germany will be against us. There’s nothing better than that."
Kahn on a special type of motivation*

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