FwB #1: Paul ‘Controversial and Bearded’ Breitner

Breitner and the beardless Keegan...

Question: Which four players have scored in two World Cup Final matches?

Answer: Pele, Vava, Zidane and who else? oh yeah, the revolutionary West German left-back Paul Breitner.

The first three are all attacking players. the last is not. instead, Breitner, (in)famous for being in charge of the German national team for a mere 17 hours in 1998, was a marauding full-back.

Yet for all Breitner’s accolades (he won the Bundesliga and European Cup with Bayern, La Liga with Real, Euros and World Cup with West Germany and the German Footballer of the Year 1981!) he is maybe just as revered for his political intentions, and like many German lefties during the 70s/80s, an incredible BEARD.

Known for his relatively outward political statements (the picture below shows him reading a Chinese communist propaganda paper, underneath a poster of Mao Tse-Tung!), he was often at odds with the Bayern bigwigs during his time at Die Roten. not least star sweeper, and generally right-swaying Franz Beckenbauer, with whom he supposedly had a fraught relationship with.

His response to the more conservative German fans who would often scream abuse at him for sympathising with the Communists?  “You know what? I’d really wanted to play normally. But you’re shouting such rubbish that to shut your mouths I’ll play even better.”

However, all this may have been lost on me if I hadn’t stumbled upon a photo of Breitner and Kevin Keegan (then at Hamburg) with equally incredible heads of hair. the only difference between them? Keegan looks like he’s wearing a comedy wig, while Breitner’s face is being eaten away by a thick, bushy, Mao-loving, Communist-embracing beard.

So with that, we’ll ignore his flirt with Capitalism (he apparently was paid 150000DM to shave off his beard for a German cosmetics company), and instead put him upon the bearded pedestal as West Germany’s finest exponent of the footballer-cum-champagne socialist.

Breitner in less beardier days...


One thought on “FwB #1: Paul ‘Controversial and Bearded’ Breitner

  1. Pingback: Icons: Paul Breitner « twofootedtackle.com

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