Bruchmühlbach-Miesau (dpa) – Fritz Walter would not have celebrated his 100th birthday extensively in the opinion of his long-time companion Horst Eckel.
“If he had been there, we would have had a great day. But I don’t think he would have made it into anything big,” said the last living 1954 World Cup soccer champion of the legendary team’s captain, who died in 2002. “He wasn’t a good speaker either. Well, when he made a speech, he didn’t like it at all,” Eckel said with a smile in an interview with the German news agency.
Fritz Walter would have turned 100 on October 31. The honorary captain of the German national team once helped Eckel in the first team of 1. FC Kaiserslautern. “Then I quickly became German champion and quickly in the national team. And then I quickly became world champion”, said Eckel. ‘Yes, it all happened very quickly. And thanks to Fritz next to me a little faster. ‘
The 88-year-old from Vogelbach in the Palatinate described Fritz Walter as a father figure who rarely spoke in the cabin: “If so, just a few words,” said Eckel. “Didn’t need him either, we were always great together.” When asked who the greatest German footballer was, Eckel said, “Fritz Walter! I don’t want to say why. To me it was him.” In 1954, at the age of 22, Eckel was the youngest German player in the “Wunder von Bern” match.