Herbert Hainer delivers eulogy for Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

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A very special award for Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: the German Football League (DFL) has named the 66-year-old, who made history with FC Bayern as a player, policy-maker and long-serving CEO, as its honorary member. "To say you are an 'elder statesman' of German football is not enough," Bayern president Herbert Hainer said in his eulogy at the ceremony in front of invited guests, including Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn and deputy CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen. "You are and remain an active advisor for all of us, an exceptionally knowledgeable fan and a huge friend of football - always with style," Hainer continued. "This mixture makes you one of the most important personalities in German football."

Herbert Hainer
Herbert Hainer praised Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in his eulogy as "one of the most important personalities in German football". 

Rummenigge said in his acceptance speech that being named an honorary member of the DFL fills him "with joy and pride", "because despite all my international activities, I was also always a child of the Bundesliga, whether as a player since 1974 or later as a manager at FC Bayern. I wish the Bundesliga an exciting and emotional season that thrills the fans - and that it continues to be as competitive as possible internationally."

In his eulogy for his long-time companion, Hainer related a few personal anecdotes to illustrate how Rummenigge developed from an 18-year-old from Lippstadt into a global star and cosmopolitan personality: "The shyness soon wore off and he carved out his own path - on and off the pitch. 60 titles with FC Bayern - that says it all!" Fittingly, at one point in the speech, the Rummenigge hit by the British pop duo Alan & Denise from 1983 was played, in which the chorus line is: "What a man!"

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels "joy and pride" after his appointment.

It was "noticeably quieter" in the stands at the Allianz Arena without the former CEO, Hainer revealed, because Rummenigge talked for 90 minutes as a commentator, analyst and fan: "This mix makes you likeable - you are always welcome in each of your three roles." The president was impressed by Rummenigge's "enormous will to succeed as well as his willingness and openness to constantly learn. When he sets his mind to something, he implements it. That's why he has always been a perfect representative for the DFL and the whole of German football. His telephone rarely stops ringing - even today his advice is sought after."

FC Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn and deputy CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen were among the invited guests.

The circle of DFL honorary members is very exclusive; Franz Beckenbauer is among those to have been honoured. The appointment is made on the basis of outstanding services to German professional football and the DFL.