Karl-Heinz Rummenigge turns 60
There are people who crave attention on their birthday, "but I don't like that," revealed Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, "I went off with my family on my 50th birthday. And I'll do it again for my 60th." So it's another quiet and relaxed occasion as the Bayern chairman heads off with his family for a couple of days, just leaving all the cares of the world behind and enjoying a look back at an incredibly eventful and successful 60 years.
22 July 1974. Rummenigge's first day at FC Bayern Munich who have just won the European Cup. The 18-year-old junior pro from Lippstadt (North Rhine Westphalia) was signed for 17,500 Deutschmarks and a benefit match. An excellent dribbler with a strong shot, extremely fast, always capable of scoring – Rummenigge came with a lot of quality. At the time few would have predicted he would go on to have such an illustrious career in world football.
Only World Cup title is missing
The first triumphs came quickly. Rummenigge did not play a decisive role in FC Bayern's second European Cup success against Leeds United in 1975 but he was in the starting eleven the following year for the 1-0 win in the final against St Etienne. The great breakthrough came in 1980 when he was voted Footballer of the Year in Germany and Europe and went on to win the European Championship with his national team in Rome. "He was the main man in the group back then," remembered his former team-mate Hans Pflügler.
At the start of the 1980s Rummenigge was considered one of the best footballers in the world. There was only one thing missing for him as a player: being a World Cup winner. "Uli Hoeneß always said to me: Kalle, you can do what you want but at least I've won one more World Cup than you," said Rummenigge looking back with a smile. It wasn't to be as he finished as a runner-up in both 1982 and 1986.
Munich, Milan, Geneva
Rummenigge ended his international career at the age of 30 after the 1986 finals in Mexico. At that time he was playing for Inter Milan at club level after winning the DFB Cup with Bayern in 1984 and with 162 Bundesliga goals to his credit: he is currently 11th in the all-time Bundesliga goal scorers list.
The star striker moved to Italy for a record transfer fee of 11 million Deutschmarks – money that was welcome to FC Bayern at the time. A win-win situation as Rummenigge never regretted moving abroad: "That time changed me completely. I certainly enhanced my quality of life." After three years at Inter (24 goals) he ended his career at the age of 33 in the summer of 1989 playing for Servette Geneva in Switzerland. "I wouldn't necessarily want to be 20 again. But my time as a player was the best. I really enjoy my second career. But the experience of scoring a goal in front of 70,000 people is unbeatable," explained Rummenigge.
Lots of work and lots and lots of pleasure
The 'second career' began in 1991 when then FCB president Fritz Scherer hit on the idea of binding former players Rummenigge and Franz Beckenbauer to the club as vice presidents. Kalle, as he is known by many contemporaries, quickly settled into his new job. "He wasn't just a world-class player. He also managed to move into his professional career without any problems," said Jupp Heynckes. In 2002 Rummenigge was named chairman of joint stock company FC Bayern Munich AG.
Thirteen years have passed since then. "I don't know if I'll make it to 20. I'm not really thinking about that now," said Rummenigge who prefers to live in the present. He certainly has enough to do with FC Bayern, but also derives lots and lots of pleasure from the job. "The fact we're mentioned in the same breath as Barcelona and Madrid is the greatest thing we've all achieved at Bayern Munich in the last 20 years," said the chairman. He believes this is worth much more than "any medal you could pin to your chest. And we've got to try and maintain this top-class level."
Rummenigge, also chairman of the European Club Association with its 220 members since 2008, is investing a lot of energy to achieve that target. The family, his wife Martina and his five children have to take a backseat sometimes. And Rummenigge does not have much time for hobbies in his very busy life: "It's one of my biggest handicaps: I'm can't dance with my wife," he says. Happy birthday, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge!