I saw an article which mentioned a man named Karl-Heinz Rumenigge (pronounced Room-in-nigga ), and I had a good chuckle at the memories the name evoked.

Back in the 1980s, Rumenigge was West Germany’s chief striker in their national football team, and he’s ranked 26th in the Top 50 World Cup Footballers Of All Time.  (The list includes Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, Yashin and Zhidane, so we’re not talking mediocrity here.)

I used to love watching him play, but not for the usual reasons.

You see, outside the penalty area, Rumenigge was hopeless:  he’d get the ball in the midfield, then trip over his own feet and fall over, or kick the ball into touch unintentionally, or pass the ball to the opposition, or kick one of his own team’s players accidentally — there was no telling how badly he could screw up.  (I exaggerate, of course, but only a little.)  And he had the worst hairstyle in football:

But when he got a sniff of the ball in the opponents’ penalty area:  GOAL.  Almost without fail, there would be a goal, whether by a thunderous shot which made the goalie look foolish, or by dribbling it past three defenders before netting the ball, or back-heeling the ball through a forest of legs, or poaching a loose ball anywhere within ten yards of the goalposts;  whatever it took, Karl-Heinz would get the job done (video).  At his club Bayern Munich, he scored 200 goals in ten years, and playing for Germany, he scored 45 goals in ninety-six matches, including a hat-trick during the 1982 World Cup.

By the way, he’s no dunce:  nowadays, Rumenigge is the Chairman of Executive Board of FC Bayern München.  And he has a better haircut.


  1. I didn’t understand a word of what you have written here, and I feel good about that.
    Now if you want to talk about putting rounds on target, I’d be glad to discuss everything from .177 to 16 inch. Did I tell you about the time the 101st “lost” a 175mm SP “Long Tom?”

  2. Rumenigge had another thing in his favor: He simply would not quit. When his teammates were bone tired, he kept attacking and attacking. And like you said, the sucker was not very effective midfield, but how he kept the other team chasing after him for 90 minutes was an amazing thing to see.

  3. I went to the World Cup when it was played in Boston years ago. I think South Korea played Ecuador (?). The score was 0-0 at the end (or Nil-Nil as people from away might say). That was enough soccer for me thank you.
    But more power to the fans of any sport, I am done with them all.

    1. Soccer – Oh, excuse me, Foootballl – isn’t that the sport Europeans watch in order to wind down from a hard day of watching paint dry?

      Roy – who’s running and dodging while being shot at by our esteemed host.

  4. Now that fellow really really looks German. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes under that scarf.

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