Klinsmann: "Football is my door opener"

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 15, 2019
Adjust font size:

By sportswriters Lin Deren, Xiao Yazhuo and Zhang Yifei

BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- It was a busy weekend for Jurgen Klinsmann, who is currently touring Beijing in his role as a promoter for the German Bundesliga.

It's the first time the German football legend has stepped on the Great Wall, and the 54-year-old said how impressed he was by the passion for football in China.

"Wherever I travel, football is like my door opener," said Klinsmann in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, "I enjoy the interaction with fans, with people that love the game."

Klinsmann has not worked in professional football since leaving his role as US national football team coach in 2016. However, football is still a crucial part of his life.

"When you grow up with football and you've been in that kind of professional environment for almost forty years, it's normal that you watch games from around the world every weekend," Klinsmann said.

The 1990 World Cup winner explained that in his mind, every country has its own distinctive way of playing football. "Talking about the Bundesliga, it's a very exciting league."

One of the major tasks for Klinsmann is to establish a tighter connection between the Bundesliga and the Chinese market.

The German league is trying hard to increase its global outreach efforts in recent years, and China is one of its biggest goals.

"[The Bundesliga features] attack-minded football, so I see many goals. I think the infrastructure is amazing. I think it's a very attractive league to watch," said Klinsmann, who plundered more than 100 Bundesliga goals across spells with VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich.

After his retirement from playing, Klinsmann coached the German national side from 2004 to 2006 before handing over to his assistant Joachim Loew, who led the team to the 2014 World Cup. As head coach of the U.S. team from 2011 to 2016, Klinsmann helped the team to reach last 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Klinsmann feels honored to have been a part of U.S. football development in recent years. "A lot of things happened in the United States over the last 15 or 20 years and I was in the middle of it. You try to be helpful to everyone involved in football, and I enjoyed it very much. I think it's impressive what the United States did over the last 20 years and how they continue to improve. Hopefully they're going to be in Qatar and have a successful World Cup [in 2022]."

As a coach, Klinsmann can also feel how the style of football has evolved from when he was a player around 25 years ago.

"Football is like life, and every day there is a change," he said. "Coaches were driven to find new technical approaches. A lot of influences in football come from the outside, like the medical side, like scouting, and data-driven things. For coaches it's very difficult to keep up with all those developments."

"Now and then you watch what other coaches are doing and maybe you learn something from your own approach. The game today is very demanding. For the players, it's very demanding because the top players play every three or four days for 11 months of the year."

Klinsmann said he wasn't good at recalling old games, but said his most memorable moment was scoring for Stuttgart against Bayern Munich. "It was a bicycle kick, which then opened the doors for me to go abroad and play for the national team."

"That was a crucial moment in my life, because national team coach Franz Beckenbauer was watching that game and then he called me into the side for the first time."

Klinsmann's name has been linked with jobs from different national teams. After his arrival in Beijing, his name was also mentioned in discussions over the next head coach of the Chinese national team.

However, Klinsmann is cautious to give any advice for the development of Chinese football.

"People in China know best what is good for them and what is not good for them," he said.

"When you don't know the club teams and when you don't know the players, it would be wrong to give advice. I think that people know what is best for China and they will try everything possible to improve to qualify for the next World Cup." Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter