'Playing for Bayern was something special'
He wore the FC Bayern jersey for four years between 2007 and 2011, making 109 appearances and celebrating two doubles with the record champions. On Saturday the 34 year-old will return to the Allianz Arena for the first time since 2012 (when he was playing for Real Madrid), this time as a Darmstadt player. The 82-time-capped Turkish international spoke to the Bayern Magazine about his time in Munich, his move to the Lilies and his retirement plans.
The interview with Hamit Altintop
Hamit, on Saturday you'll be visiting the Allianz Arena again for the first time in five years. What memories do you have of Munich?
Hamit Altintop: "I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and the Arena. Of course I also think of the two league titles and the many Champions League games. I'll be coming back to Munich with lots of positive memories."
You spent a total of four years in Munich at FC Bayern: what role did this chapter play in your career?
Altintop: "A very big role. Four years is almost a quarter of my career, so it was an extremely important period. Playing for Bayern was something special, I became a two-time league winner and two-time cup winner with this club."
Do you still keep in contact with any of your old teammates? A few of the players from your time are still here like Franck, Philipp, Arjen etc.
Altintop: "I speak to Franck now and then, and obviously I'm looking forward to seeing the boys again. I'm still in regular contact with the kitman Thomas Reschke, who I get on very well with."
How did the move to Darmstadt in January come about?
Altintop: "After all the injuries I had at Galatasary, I felt I needed a change. Then the opportunity to return to the Bundesliga appeared, and it all happened very quickly. I was excited by the challenge at Darmstadt and I just love playing football. Torsten Frings was also a big factor in the transfer happening within 24 hours."
Your list of former clubs reads Schalke, Bayern, Real, Galatasary. It sounds like a great career, but one thing has stayed with you at all your clubs and that's injury problems. Are you still happy with how your career's panned out?
Altintop: "I'm proud to say I've given my all in every training session and every game. Four titles, various cup successes and the Champions League final in 2010 – they're experiences I look back on very fondly and that make me happy."
Your contract is up at the end of the season. Where next after that?
Altintop: "I'd like to keep playing football as long as I can still keep up with this level. At the moment I have no idea where that will be, though."
You'll be 35 in December. Do you have plans for what you're going to do after your playing career?
Altintop: "I'd like to stay in football but in what capacity I don't know – that will be decided when the time comes. I can imagine myself in a coaching role. Being a coach is an unbelievably intensive job but one in which you can develop and achieve a lot."