Lothar Herbert Matthäus (German pronunciation: [ˈloːtaːɐ̯ maˈtɛːʊs]; born 21 March 1961) is a German football manager and former player. After captaining West Germany to victory in the 1990 FIFA World Cup where he lifted the World Cup trophy, he was named European Footballer of the Year. In 1991, he was named the first ever FIFA World Player of the Year, and remains the only German to have received the award.
Matthäus in 2012
|Full name||Lothar Herbert Matthäus|
|Date of birth||21 March 1961|
|Place of birth||Erlangen, West Germany|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Playing position||Midfielder, Sweeper|
|1971–1979||1. FC Herzogenaurach|
|2018||1. FC Herzogenaurach||1||(0)|
|1979–1983||West Germany U21||15||(2)|
|1979–1981||West Germany B||4||(1)|
|2006–2007||Red Bull Salzburg|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Matthäus held the record of having played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), more than any other outfield player in men's football, until the 2018 World Cup, in which Mexico's Rafael Márquez equalled his record in a 1–0 victory over Germany, and holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25 games). He was the captain of the West German team that won the 1990 World Cup in Italy and also was captain of the German squad in the 1994 World Cup in the United States. He also won UEFA Euro 1980, and played in the 1984, 1988, and 2000 UEFA European Football Championships. In 1999, aged 38, he was again voted German Footballer of the Year, having previously won the award in 1990.
Matthäus is the most capped German player of all time, retiring with a total of 150 appearances (83 for West Germany) in 20 years, and 23 goals. Matthäus is a member of the FIFA 100 list of the greatest living football players chosen by Pelé. Diego Maradona said of Matthäus, "he is the best rival I've ever had. I guess that's enough to define him", in his book Yo soy el Diego (I am the Diego).
A versatile and complete player, Matthäus is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, and was renowned for his perceptive passing, positional sense, well-timed tackling, as well as powerful shooting. During his career, he usually played as a box-to-box midfielder, although late in his career he played as a sweeper.
Matthäus started his professional career in 1979 with Borussia Mönchengladbach of the Bundesliga, for whom he played until 1984. He then played for Bayern Munich from 1984–88, winning the Bundesliga twice and the DFB-Pokal. They also reached the European Cup final in 1987, leading 1–0 for most of the game until two late goals gave FC Porto the win.
Matthäus and Bayern teammate Andreas Brehme signed with Inter Milan of Serie A in 1988, winning the Scudetto in 1988–89 during their first season, and the Italian Supercup that year as well. Matthäus continued to enjoy further success with Inter, winning the UEFA Cup in 1991 and being named FIFA World Player of the Year. In the final, he scored a penalty in the first leg to help them to their victory over Roma.
Returning to Bayern Munich in 1992, he won four Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, another UEFA Cup and reached a second European Cup final in 1999. The only major club football honour which eluded Matthäus, for competitions in which he played, was the UEFA Champions League. Famously, he came within two minutes of picking up a winners' medal in 1999, only to have his hopes dashed by Manchester United, who scored two last-minute goals in the final, after he was substituted in the 80th minute of play while the team was still leading 1–0. When the two teams went to collect their medals Matthäus removed his runners-up medal immediately after he received it – it was the second time he had been on the losing side in a final under similar circumstances; in the 1987 final, Bayern had been leading 1–0 most of the game until two late goals gave FC Porto the win. After Matthäus retired, Bayern would win the Champions League in 2000–01 and later that year the Intercontinental Cup. His last official match for Bayern took place in Munich on 8 March 2000 and was a Champions League match against Real Madrid, which Bayern won 4–1.
During the 1999–2000 season, Matthäus moved from Bayern to New York City's MetroStars team of Major League Soccer in the United States. He played in the USA from March to October 2000 and retired from professional football afterwards. During his season with the MetroStars, he traveled to St. Tropez when he was supposed to be rehabbing his back.
Matthäus came out of retirement in 2018, at age 57, to play 50 minutes of 1. FC Herzogenaurach's final league game of the season. The team had already secured the league title, and the appearance allowed Matthäus to satisfy his ambition retiring with the club where his career started: "It was always my dream to play my last competitive game here."
Matthäus was first called up to the West German national squad in 1980, where he was part of the winning squad in UEFA Euro 1980 in Italy, making his international debut at the tournament in a game against the Netherlands. He also played two games at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain; he was brought on as a substitute in group stage games against Chile and the infamous Disgrace of Gijón game versus Austria. West Germany reached the final, losing to Italy at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid 3–1.
By now, he also had a regular place in the national team for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, scoring the winner in the round of 16 against Morocco. In the final at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, despite his considerable play-making ability, he was assigned by coach Franz Beckenbauer to mark Argentina's Diego Maradona. Maradona did not score in the final, but his pass to a teammate with six minutes left in regulation time set up the winning goal for Argentina, and West Germany lost their second consecutive World Cup final, this time 3–2.
At UEFA Euro 1988 in West Germany, Matthäus captained the team and scored a penalty against the Netherlands (the eventual winners) in the semi-final to give his team a 1–0 lead, but Ronald Koeman leveled the score with a penalty, and then Marco van Basten slid in the winning goal in the final minutes.
His immediate success in Italy's premier football league, the Serie A, was a precursor to the national team which finally managed to triumph at the 1990 FIFA World Cup held in Italy. Six of West Germany's squad played professionally there; Matthäus and the West German squad played most of the World Cup games at Inter's home stadium the San Siro. West Germany was the best team of the tournament and one of the few to choose an attacking style of play, contrary to previous German teams' more defensive style. Matthäus led his squad from midfield and scored four goals, including two against Yugoslavia. He scored the only goal of the quarter-final against Czechoslovakia from a penalty awarded in the 25th minute of the match. West Germany reached its third consecutive final, a rematch against Maradona-led Argentina, and this time Matthäus and his team emerged victorious 1–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome thanks to Andreas Brehme converting an 85th minute penalty. Matthäus later said that playing the World Cup in Italy was "like playing a World Cup at home". As team captain, Matthäus hoisted the last World Cup trophy before German reunification in 1990. Both the (West) German team and state remained the same when the East Germans joined.
He was injured and unable to take part in UEFA Euro 1992 in Sweden; though a reunified Germany made the final but lost 2–0 to surprise Denmark. At the 1994 FIFA World Cup hosted by the United States, he captained the team but now operated as sweeper. He scored a penalty in Germany's quarter-final match against Bulgaria at Giants Stadium in New York City, which was also his record-tying 21st World Cup match, but the Bulgarians scored twice in three minutes to upset the defending champions. USA '94 was expected to be his last tournament, though he did not officially retire from international play. Matthäus was afterwards not called up for the national team, due to feuding with succeeding captain Jürgen Klinsmann and coach Berti Vogts. In his absence Germany won UEFA Euro 1996 which was held in England.
Surprisingly, he was called up for the 1998 World Cup in France as a replacement for the injured sweeper Matthias Sammer. He was on the bench for Germany's victory over the United States, but came in as a substitute against FR Yugoslavia and helped the team to a 2–2 draw. He became the second player to appear in five different World Cup tournaments, tying the record of Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal. In 2014 the record has also been tied by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who however has only played in four. In 2015 Homare Sawa and Formiga became the first footballers to appear for a record sixth time at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. Matthäus played in all the rest of Germany's matches until Croatia knocked them out in Lyon 3–0 in the quarterfinals, taking his total to a record 25.
He earned his last three caps at UEFA Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands, his 150th cap being against Portugal, where Germany had a disastrous first round exit. Matthäus had a poor performance in the first group game against Romania, causing Oliver Bierhoff and other key German players to demand his benching, but head coach Erich Ribbeck stuck by Matthäus.
One year after ending his illustrious playing days, Matthäus started a coaching career, which has so far been much less distinguished. In his print interviews and other media appearances, he has been clear about his goal and desire to coach in the Bundesliga. His hope was that taking coaching jobs abroad would lead to offers from Germany.
When none came his way even after multiple foreign appointments, he often brought it up in the German press in-between his coaching stints. In November 2009, he gave a lengthy interview to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, complaining about what he considers to be inadequate treatment he receives in Germany as a former great. He also bemoaned the lack of coaching job offers extended to him in the Bundesliga — saying German clubs perceived him as being too much of a Bayern supporter and too closely linked with the influential Bild tabloid newspaper to give him a job.
Inheriting a team at the top of the league table, Matthäus achieved the immediate goal by steering Partizan to the 2002–03 league title in convincing fashion, at one point, even extending the lead over the second-placed rivals Red Star Belgrade to 19 points. Still, his finest hour with the club came in August 2003 when Partizan eliminated Newcastle United in the Champions League third qualifying round to reach the 2003–04 competition's group stage. Following the first leg 0–1 loss at home, the cause seemed lost, however, Partizan improbably triumphed 0–1 away at St. James' Park, taking the tie to penalties. The penalty series brought further dramatic changes of momentum before Milivoje Ćirković's successful spot-kick finally put Partizan through. Matthäus had his back turned to the pitch as couldn't bear to watch the drama of Ćirković's penalty. Though drawn in a tough group with powerhouse Real Madrid of the first galáctico era, eventual champions FC Porto, and Olympique de Marseille, Partizan played some inspired football that autumn, only narrowly missing out on the UEFA Cup spot.
On 13 December 2003, right after finishing the final league match of the half-season (0–1 win away at FK Železnik) before the winter break, Matthäus abruptly resigned his post at Partizan by addressing the players and club leadership in private. A club spokesperson said Matthäus would clear everything up at a press conference that he scheduled for two days later, but it was already widely speculated through reports in the Hungarian press that the German had agreed terms with the Hungarian Football Federation to coach the Hungary national team. The rumours proved true as he officially signed the contract in Budapest and also got introduced to the media at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus.
Four months after leaving Belgrade, in mid-April 2004, the row over the terms of Matthäus' contract with Partizan was opened with both parties publicly going back and forth at each other. It began with Matthäus, by now Hungarian national team head coach, giving a detailed interview to Serbian press and accusing Partizan club leadership of breaching the additional terms of his contract. It became known on that occasion that his initial contract with Partizan that had been finalized on 1 January 2003 included a base guaranteed part as well additional premium clauses giving him between 5–10% from players' transfers and shirt sponsorships as well as Champions League bonus incentives. Matthäus claimed that after none of that was honoured he gave up on asking for his percentages of the Danko Lazović and Zvonimir Vukić transfers as well as Superfund shirt sponsorship deal due to "not wanting to upset the team atmosphere during Champions League qualifying", but instead pushed for the additional terms to be renegotiated. After successful Champions League qualification, the additional terms were in fact renegotiated with Partizan's general secretary Žarko Zečević so that both parties agreed to put the previous additional terms out of effect and instead now give Matthäus 15% of Igor Duljaj's (the club's best young asset at the time) future transfer abroad as well as to allow Matthäus to leave the club any time he wanted without penalties. Duljaj was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk in January 2004 for US$4 million, and Matthäus claimed Partizan failed to pay him the agreed percentage ($600,000 or €469,500). The club responded two days later in a lengthy press release saying that they don't owe him any money. One day after that, Matthäus decided to sue Partizan for the amount of US$600,000 before Sports Arbitration Court in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Hungary national teamEdit
Matthäus became manager of the Hungary national football team on 14 December 2003. The country once synonymous with world class football was trying to return its national team on the path of former 1950s glory, and Matthäus was given the task of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. After being drawn in a tough group with Sweden, Croatia and Bulgaria that goal looked increasingly difficult.
The campaign started in the autumn of 2004 and fairly quickly it became obvious Hungary were in over their heads. The opening 3–0 loss away at Croatia in early September was somewhat offset four days later by the 3–2 hard fought home win versus Iceland. A month later, Matthäus' Hungary faced another important test away from home, this time at Sweden. And once again it finished in disappointment with another demoralizing 3–0 loss. Before the winter break, Hungary managed to beat the minnows of the group Malta thus finishing the autumn part of the qualifying in fourth place with six points, mathematically still within striking distance of the leading trio. Notable was a 2–0 win in a friendly in Kaiserslautern against Germany on 6 June 2004.
As the qualifiers resumed in late March 2005, Hungary hosted Bulgaria in what was pretty much a must win match for Matthäus' squad, however they only managed a draw right at the end with the goal coming in 90th minute for a 1–1 final scoreline. As Croatia and Sweden both won on the same occasion, the leading duo of teams now tangibly separated themselves from the pack of chasers, all of which meant that in order to qualify Hungary would have to win all its remaining fixtures and even get some outside help in terms of favourable results elsewhere. Such improbable scenario failed to materialize and they ended up in fourth place with 14 points from 10 matches, well behind Croatia and Sweden who earned 25 and 24 points, respectively. However, Matthäus was allowed to finish out the campaign behind the bench, and was even offered Hungarian citizenship, which he at the time said he would accept. There's no word whether he actually did. Matthäus left the Hungarian national team on 11 January 2006.
After he left the Hungary post, Matthäus was vocally critical of the Hungarian Football Federation, accusing it in November 2007 of "not contributing, but exploiting Hungarian football" and citing that "it's not coincidental that the Hungarian bid to host Euro 2012 didn't receive any votes".
Matthäus signed a one-year contract to coach Brazilian club Atlético Paranaense from the city of Curitiba on 11 January 2006. However, after only seven matches in charge (five wins, two draws) from the start of the 2006 Paraná state championship he quit the club in March 2006 citing the need to be closer to his family. The way he left raised some questions about his professionalism. Apparently, only five weeks after signing a contract he informed club officials about a need to rush back to Europe in order to deal with an urgent personal problem, but assured them he'd be back in 3–4 days. After missing for two weeks, he faxed in his resignation on 20 March and never even went back to Brazil to pick up his personal belongings. Some ten days later, Atlético put out a release mentioning that Matthäus ran up R$13,000 (US$5,915) in phone charges that the club wanted him to pay. The club even posted the bill on their website.
Red Bull SalzburgEdit
On 19 May 2006, only two months following the bizarre Brazilian episode, Matthäus was announced as coach of Red Bull Salzburg (formerly Austria Salzburg) for the upcoming 2006–07 season. Shortly, the club also signed Giovanni Trapattoni (incidentally Matthäus' former coach at both Internazionale and Bayern) to be their director of football. In practice, this meant that Trapattoni and Matthäus essentially shared coaching duties.
Despite co-leading the team to the Austrian league title by a large margin, Matthäus would eventually be fired on 12 June 2007 by unanimous decision of the Red Bull Salzburg's board of directors.
On 29 April 2009, with the Israeli league season still ongoing and Netanya sitting in fourth place, it was announced that Matthäus will not be back for the second season once the current one is finished. The reason cited was the financial trouble that the club was going through. Matthäus' club finished the league season in fourth spot.
Bulgaria national teamEdit
On 23 September 2010, it was announced that Matthäus would be the new coach of the Bulgarian national team after the resignation of Stanimir Stoilov a few weeks earlier. His contract was for one year with the option for a two-year extension.
He started with a 1–0 win against Wales in Cardiff on his debut. Matthäus led Bulgaria to their first win in 2010 and in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualification campaign. On 12 October 2010, he led Bulgaria to a 2–0 win over Saudi Arabia in a friendly. On 17 November 2010, in a friendly played in Sofia, Bulgaria lost to Serbia 0–1. Despite winning his first match in the qualifiers against Wales, Bulgaria under Matthäus were unable to qualify for Euro 2012, following draws with Switzerland and Montenegro, as well as a home loss against England. On 19 September 2011, it was revealed that Matthäus had been sacked.
Columnist and TV punditEdit
From 2001 until 2009, in parallel and in-between his coaching jobs, Matthäus wrote a column for the German weekly sports magazine Sport Bild.
He also worked as in-studio TV pundit on a variety of television networks during big football competitions: for the German pay television channel Premiere during the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, for the German channel ZDF during UEFA Euro 2004, for Eurosport during UEFA Euro 2008, for the Arabian network Al Jazeera Sports during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for the Iranian channel IRIB during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 AFC Asian Cup, and for the British TV network ITV during UEFA Euro 2016.
He has further participated in a special E Campeão for the Brazilian channel Sportv.
Matthäus has four children and has been married five times.
During his first marriage that lasted from 1981 until 1992, wife Silvia gave birth to two daughters Alisa (born 1986) and Viola (born 1988).
While coaching FK Partizan in Belgrade, he met 31-year-old Serbian socialite Marijana Kostić who became his third wife on 27 November 2003. It was her third marriage as well. By late 2007 the couple separated and she filed for divorce. Their divorce became official in late January 2009 following the conclusion of a year-long court case in Salzburg, Austria (their last residence) over the division of assets.
In December 2008, 47-year-old Matthäus married 21-year-old Ukrainian model Kristina Liliana Chudinova. The ceremony was held in Las Vegas. They met a year earlier at the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich. The couple lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, where Liliana studies journalism in a local university; but started living separately by early 2010.
Matthäus and his wife Anastasia Klimko have a son, Milan (born April 2014) and live in Budapest, Hungary.
Matthäus features in EA Sports' FIFA video game series; he was on the cover of the German edition of FIFA 2001, and features in the FIFA 14, FIFA 15, FIFA 16, FIFA 17, FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 a Ultimate Team Legends. Matthäus was also prominently featured in the opening video scene of EA's Euro 2000 video game, with Paul Oakenfold transforming the real Matthäus into an interactive digital player he controls in the game with his turntables.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|United States||League||Open Cup||MLS Cup||North America||Total|
|2000||MetroStars||Major League Soccer||16||0||2||0||5||0||—||—||23||0|
|Germany national team|
- Bundesliga: 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1993–94, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000
- DFB-Pokal: 1985–86, 1997–98, 1999–2000
- DFB-Supercup: 1987
- Fuji-Cup: 1987, 1988, 1994, 1995
- UEFA Cup: 1995–96
- DFB-Ligapokal: 1997, 1998, 1999
- kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 1982–83, 1984–85, 1987–88, 1992–93, 1993–94
- UEFA European Championship of the Tournament: 1988
- FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 1990
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1990
- Footballer of the Year in Germany: 1990, 1999
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 1991
- Goal of the Year (Germany): 1990, 1992
- World Soccer Awards Player of the Year: 1990
- IFFHS World's Best Player: 1990
- Ballon d'Or: 1990
- Pirata d'Oro (Internazionale Player of the Year): 1991
- FIFA XI: 1996, 1997, 2001
- FIFA 100
- Golden Foot legends award: 2012
- IFFHS Legends
- Inter Hall of Fame: 2018
- Bayern Munich All-time XI
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lothar Matthäus.|
- Official website (in German)
| Germany captain
| Bayern Munich captain
| Quintuple World Cup player