German great Lothar Matthaus takes Grant Wahl's Rapid-Fire Quiz, answering a number of questions about his storied career.
The latest soccer superstar to take our Rapid-Fire Quiz—aka our version of the Proust Questionnaire—is German legend Lothar Matthäus, who also appears on the new Planet Fútbol podcast. Matthäus captained West Germany’s 1990 World Cup-winning team, and he played in five World Cups, a men’s record that he shares with Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon.
Matthäus, who spoke to SI while on the Bundesliga Legends Tour, also won eight league titles in Germany (with Bayern Munich) and Italy (with Inter Milan).
We have given the Quiz to some of the biggest names in the sport, and here is what Matthäus had to say (the full interview can be heard in the podcast below):
SI: What was your favorite goal that you ever scored in a game?
Matthäus: One of the most important goals was a free kick for Inter Milan when we played against Napoli with Maradona. With this goal we won the Italian championship in 1989. This was the final goal in the season and the people were very happy because this was a full stadium in Milan with 85,000 spectators. And Inter Milan won after 10 years again the Italian championship. This was not only a nice goal but an important goal for all the fans of Inter Milan.
SI: What was the best goal you ever scored in terms of degree of difficulty?
Matthäus: The nicest was 1992 in a Bundesliga game between Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. This was a volley from 25 meters. This was a beautiful goal because it was exactly in the upper corner of the goal.
SI: Who is the best player you ever played against?
Matthäus: Diego Maradona. I played many times against him in the national team and in the Italian competition between Inter Milan and Napoli. He was not only the best player in the world at this time. He was very fast, had very good technique, good movements. He really was very difficult to defend. When you see everything he was doing, especially at the end of the ‘80s and beginning of the ‘90s, he was playing on another level than the rest.
SI: Who was the player you admired the most during your career?
Matthäus: It has to be a couple of players, because I was playing mostly in a good team. I had very good players around me in the team, like in the German national team. Andreas Brehme was one of my best partners in the team because he had good eyes, he could always hit the best ball. He was a very smart player. He had left and right shooting the same. You couldn’t tell if he was left or right because he had both legs and could shoot at the highest level.
SI: Who was the toughest defender you ever faced?
Matthäus: Diego Simeone, the coach from Atlético Madrid, was a very strong player as a midfielder. He played so strong like his teams. He brought his character from his career to his team. He was the player who was not so nice to play against, very uncomfortable. You want him more in your team than playing against him.
SI: Who is your favorite player in the world today?
Matthäus: In the last seven or eight years, always [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. But if you ask me from these two, I’d say Messi. He has more of what I like, but I respect also Ronaldo, because what these players have done in the last 10 years for football was the highest level.