Philipp Lahm on Roman Herzog
Mesut Özil on Zinedine Zidane
When Mesut Özil was small, back then, in Gelsenkirchen-Buer, he met every day with his friends to kick on a slag place they called the “monkey cage” because it was surrounded by a fence. They gave themselves names of famous footballers, of their idols. And he was always Zinedine Zidane. How he dominated the ball, the ease with which he played, his technical skills - that inspired the young footballer. There he adopts some things. Meanwhile, Özil is the Real Madrid playmaker and Zinedine Zidane the sports director of the club, so in a way, his boss. They see each other every now and then, and Özil gets tips from the elder from time to time. Although he can certainly meet him at eye leve after his success - but a lot of respect is still there. Just as it’s like with childhood heros, which remain idols.
Thomas Müller on Gerd Müller
Someone like him will probably never exist again. Says Thomas Müller. Such a goal-getter, such a player with 365 league goals - and 68 goals in 62 games for Germany, both records for eternity. Someone like Gerd Müller precisely. Nationalteamplayer, Bayern striker. And there was the name. “If you grow up as a footballer, and especially as an offensive player with the name Müller, you’ll be constantly associated with Gerd,” says Thomas Müller. Gerd Müller was the one, who coined the phrase “es müllert” and “I want to keep this concept alive at the best possible way.” But it is not only the superior game. That Gerd, now assistant coach of the Bayern Munich amateurs, has remained, despite all the achievements, so humble, down to earth and always friendly and nice, makes him a great person too. “That’s my goal too. And that’s why I admire Gerd - as human and mentor, as fatherly friend and for his incredible hunger for goals during his career” says Thomas Müller.
Manuel Neuer on Boris Becker
When Boris Becker won Wimbledon in 1985, Manuel Neuer was not even born yet. But Becker also was the tennis star of his childhood, the legend was unbroken. Because of him, the goalkeeper started to play tennis as a kid, even though it was clear from the start that football was his thing. But there were also similarities: how Becker threw himself to the ball. The passion with which he played. And with which dedication as well. That impressed Neuer. He is still member of the tennis club TG Gold-White Gelsenkirchen. And Boris Becker is his hero.
Lukas Podolski on Herbert Hainer
Yes, Adidas is advertising partner of the national team. This creates a certain bond, you might say. But there are other reasons why Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer is a great person for Lukas Podolski, and much much more than just an important person in the sporting goods industry. Podolski admires him for how he successfully leads a global brand for years on a highly competitive market and still somehow remained normal. Podolski says Hainer is a “very cool and nice guy.” The same may be true the other way around: Hainer discovered Podolski early for advertising and said back then that Podolski stands symbolically for a new generation of players in Germany.
Miroslav Klose on Fritz Walter
He was eight, he had just arrived with his parents from Poland to Germany, he was new in the small village near Kaiserslautern. And on the soccer field the other children told him of Fritz Walter. The famous striker of 1 FC Kaiserslautern, the world champion of 1954. Miroslav Klose wanted to be like him. So successful, so human. In 1999, he joined 1. FC Kaiserslautern and met his idol in person. Klose himself has never seen Fritz Walter play. But Walter had always told him of the past. It became a friendship. Fritz Walter always sent him cards and wine after his goals for Kaiserslautern. He was not only for him, but for the whole family, someone they would always carry in their hearts. Until the death of Fritz Walter 2002, both have phoned each other once or twice a month.
Benedikt Höwedes on Steve Jobs
He created a global brand and changed the everyday life with his products, a bit at least, the legendary Apple founder Steve Jobs. Without iPad, iPhone and iPod the defender of Schalke 04 clearly would missing something, he says. The late head of Apple is a hero for Benedikt Höwedes especially because he, despite many setbacks in a highly competitive market, never gave up and always believed in his ideas. “He has created things”, says Benedict Höwedes, “that inspire many people today.”
Per Mertesacker on Bob Marley
The defender often played cards in the past with his friends, to compensate for the football. They heard a lot of music - and especially reggae music, especially Bob Marley. Because he liked the music so well, Mertesacker began at some point to be interested in the texts of the songs and the life story of Bob Marley. He could identify with the words of Marley. And Marley’s music was for him a balance to the focus on performance and fixity of purpose that should determine his job as a footballer. He admires the easy-going nature of the Jamaican, who died in 1981, but he was also interested in the social-critical background. “Marley’s music”, says Per Mertesacker “motivates to have not always have this tunnel vision when you look at things.”