A team comprising of Bayern Munich greats is now in Kolkata to play a charity match against a team of East Bengal legends for the J.C. Guha Centenary Trophy at Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The proceeds of the match will go to Towards Life Foundation India (TLF) and Nabadisha Project for the benefit of the street children of Kolkata.
On Tuesday morning, three members of the Bayern Munich All Stars team appeared in a press conference.
Paul Breitner who scored the equalizer from the spot in the 1974 World Cup final against Netherlands, Andreas Brehme - scorer of the penalty that won Germany the 1990 final against Argentina and 1994 Brazilian World Cup winner and 2001 Champions League winner with Bayern - Paulo Sergio were the three legends present before the media.
Paul Breitner admitted that he doesn’t have much idea about Indian football or about the East Bengal All Stars team that he and his teammates will face, but he assured that Bayern Munich are very much interested in knowing more about the sport in India and also help improve its condition.
“Unfortunately I don’t have any idea about Indian football but so far on our visit we have already learnt a lot and are eager to know more.
“We can help Indian football by sending German coaches to train Indians and also by sending teams to play against the Indian sides in the coming years.”
“It is an honour for us to be part of such a noble cause. We are glad to give something back to football which has taught and given us so much over the years” he was quoted saying in the press conference.
However Breitner pointed out that even though it is only a charity match, Bayern legends are taking it very seriously.
“No Bayern Munich team is expected to lose any game. We also want to prove that we can still play football at our age.” (smiles)
The World Cup winner also chose his former teammate Gerd Mueller as the best player in the last fifty to sixty years.
“For me the best player in the last fifty to sixty years is Gerd Mueller. By scoring those important goals he won us so many matches. It’s goals which eventually help you win the trophies and he won so many for us.”
Among current players, Breitner singled out Argentina and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
"If you are talking about the present, I'd go for Lionel Messi. He is a complete player, far ahead of his contemporaries."
On being asked to select the best league in the world, Breitner opines that he would go for the Bundesliga over the English Premier League, La Liga and the Serie A.
"In England, you have four teams battling for the title. In Spain, you have two teams always hogging the limelight. But in Germany, you have at least six teams who are giving Bayern a run for their money. Bundesliga is the most competetive league of all," he explained.
If Breitner was one of the heroes of the 1974 World Cup winning team, Andreas Brehme was the match winner of the 1990 World Cup final.
The penalty which he struck in the final is one of the iconic moments in the history of World Cup and naturally Brehme was asked to share the experience.
“Don’t ask me what I was thinking while I was taking the spot-kick, all I knew was I had to score and thankfully I did and we deservedly won the World Cup in Rome.”
That final saw Argentina captain Diego Maradona burst into tears and Brehme gave his opinion about El Diego.
“I played against him (Diego Maradona) in international football, Spain and in Italy as well. He was a great player and easily one of the most technically gifted I have ever seen.
“It is difficult for me to judge him as a coach. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us his Argentina side lost to Germany. It’s a pity that he is no longer the coach of Argentina but maybe there will be something positive for him on that front in the near future, let’s wait and see.”
The other World Cup winner present at the press conference, Paulo Sergio also shared his thoughts on visiting India.
Sergio, whom some of the Indian football audience will recognize as he scored the winner in the first leg of the 2000-2001 Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford against Man United, expressed his delight on visiting India for the first time.
“Being a Brazilian, I am well aware about the love people of Kolkata and India have for Brazil national team. I have heard a lot about India so am glad to finally make my first visit here.
“It’s going to be a good experience to play this charity match, I am very happy to be a part of this,” the 41-year old was quoted saying.
The match will take place from 17:00 IST and is sure to draw a good attendance as Wednesday is a holiday to celebrate the festival of Eid-Ul-Zuha.