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Exclusive interview

Elber: I was the first one to risk it

Title collector, top scorer and above all crowd favourite: With four Bundesliga titles, three DFB Cup wins and a Champions League triumph, Giovane Elber is not only one of the most successful but also one of the most popular players in the history of FC Bayern.

In an interview with, the Brazilian recalls past championship celebrations with the Reds. And the former sharpshooter is looking forward to three things in particular: the game against his old club VfB Stuttgart, the cup final and the World Cup in Brazil.

Das Interview mit Giovane Elber: Hello Giovane. We've caught up with you at your cattle ranch in Brazil. It must be hard work?
Giovane Elber:Yes, indeed! It's a complete change in career for me. I get up at five in the morning and I'm on my horse at half past five. I bought the ranch at the turn of the millennium and I keep learning something new all the time. It's wonderful.

What's most fun for you?
It's great being close to the natural world. You get up in the morning and see crocodiles and parrots – a huge range of animals. Every day is different. I still remember the promise I made to my family that I would spend more time with them after I hung up my boots. But the opposite is actually true (he laughs). I'm away from home a lot.

On the subject of fun: is it right you invented the celebratory beer shower?
I was certainly the first man to take the risk of showering the coach with beer (he laughs). That was under Giovanni Trapattoni. He didn't hold it against me although he only had one suit with him. The club managed to get him a suit from somewhere.

Are coaches a favourite target for players?
It's most fun with the coach. You're with him every day and he has a lot of authority. But you can let yourself go when you celebrate winning titles. We once showered Uli Hoeneß with beer; that was good fun too. He didn't mind, he was always very relaxed. Except when we lost... (he laughs)

While we're talking about celebrating: We asked our fans on Twitter to send us questions for you. @Bastiano31 would like to know: What was your best moment in winning the title?
My first championship [1999 with FC Bayern] was really special. When you've worked hard for years to achieve that target and then the day finally comes for you to reap the reward. You never forget it. You want to keep on winning the league after that.

The last-minute title win in 2001 is particularly memorable for many fans. Is winning a close title race different from winning by a mile?
It does feel different if you're champions at the very last moment. I wasn't on the pitch at Hamburg and all I could hear was people saying FC Bayern had thrown it away by losing the game. And you go on to win the league. It's an incredible feeling.

The Bayern players will be parading to Marienplatz on Saturday. What does that feel like?
It always feels good. You know you've done something for the club again. It's a great feeling. It takes an incredible amount of time to get to Marienplatz as there are so many people on the streets. It's great. It's magical celebrating with fans.

There's the game against VfB Stuttgart before the party. @CuoreDiCorleone would like to know what games between your former clubs feel like.
They’re always special games for me. I always looked at the fixture list when I was a pro at VfB: When is the game against FC Bayern? I had a great time at Stuttgart and I still have an affinity with club as my friend Fredi Bobic is the general manager there. We’ve kept in contact. But I love FC Bayern.

How often are you in Munich?
I come here once or twice a month. The flight takes 20 hours with stopovers but that doesn't bother me (he laughs). We usually land in Munich at six in the morning and I need a Weißwurst straight away. I can't get them at home in Brazil. And Bavarian beer of course.

Do you like the football at FC Bayern this season?
It's great. It's clear the team has got even better under Pep Guardiola. Unfortunately, they were knocked out by Real Madrid but you can't win the Champions League every year. It's phenomenal what Bayern have achieved on the pitch this season.

Bayern face Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup final the week after next. How do you rate their chances?
50-50. Dortmund are a good side. I hope Bayern can score an early goal as that will give them more confidence. I'm really looking forward to the game as the two best teams in Germany are playing each other and those are always exciting games. I hope I can be there.

You’ll definitely be at home for the World Cup. What's it like in Brazil with just a few weeks to go before the tournament kicks off?
There's growing excitement and people can hardly wait for it. Of course, there are a couple of problems but everybody will be backing Brazil when it starts. And Germany are also highly rated.

Do you think Dante and Rafinha will play in the World Cup?
They've got a good chance. Dante has played for Brazil a number of times recently and he 's made a very good impression. Rafinha could make it to the World Cup as he's had a great season. It will be interesting to see what Luiz Felipe Scolari decides.

The World Cup will see you meet up again with Mehmet Scholl...
That's right. We're working together for German TV in Rio de Janeiro during the tournament. It won't be easy for us: fun, the beach, the sea, carnival, Caipirinha (he laughs)Scholli won't want to leave the country after the World Cup.