Jean-Marie Pfaff is the ‘goal clown’ who made Belgium and Bayern Munich great

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Acrobatic and extremely efficient between poles, histrionic and extrovert off-court, Jean-Marie Pfaff has made Belgium and Bayern Munich nice.

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It’s usually mentioned that anybody who performs within the purpose place ought to have it. a point of madness. This stereotype about goalkeepers is completely mirrored. Jean-Marie Pfaff The primary nice goalkeeper in historical past Belgium.

Tall One meter for 78 kilograms is 80 centimeters, He had extraordinary acrobatic expertise, which made him look much more majestic than he actually was, an innate spectacle and clown character, in his statements to journalists and in his conduct off the pitch, in addition to Look on the sector: flashy uniforms and large gloves they had been really his each day bread.

With these amenities, he had no issues throughout his profession between his dwelling nation, Germany and Turkey. geese, usually clamorous, all the time succumb to him with a smile on his lips.


Pfaff was born December 4, 1953 inside A big household with 11 kids: there actually is 5 brothers and 6 sisters. His household was god carpet sellers Transported from metropolis to metropolis by looms on the Flemish plain. For this, he lives on the ship and spends his childhood. A caravan within the heart of Antwerp.

I lived within the trailer till the marriage. – the previous goalkeeper informed UEFA – Those that stay like this are great folks. Me and my brothers lived a cheerful life as a result of the folks round us had been very social. There was heat, affection, friendship, we labored, lived and performed collectively and sorted one another: it was one huge blissful household.”

The idyllic image breaks down when Father Honoré dies earlier than Jean-Marie turns 12. As a baby, he labored in a submit workplace and a textile manufacturing facility to make a residing. Begin taking part in soccer in neighborhood tournaments. crew shaped together with his brothers ‘I Diavoli Rossi’, Precisely the identical identify because the gamers of the Belgian nationwide crew. Attributable to its additional weight, it’s usually deployed between the posts.

Then he joined on the age of 18 KSK Beveren. Maintaining his promise to his father, Pfaff goalkeeper profession and though he initially divides himself between training and work, he quickly climbs up the hierarchies.

“To start with, soccer was a passion as a result of I had a standard job. – Commenting on UEFA’s microphones – Every single day I needed to cycle from Beveren to Sint-Niklaas, rain or shine. It has been 25 kilometers.”

He married Carmen in 1974. and together with his spouse runs a sporting items retailer Till Beveren owns it. This was new in 1976. ct. Belgium Man Thys, For the 1976 European Championship, Diavoli Rossi decides to rejuvenate his squad.

Jean Marie Pfaff Erwin Vandenbergh Rene Vandereycken Belgium 06191984Getty Photos


Within the citadel he’s known as Pfaff, together with different younger hopefuls Willy Wellens, René Verheyen and Michel Renquin. And for the Beveren goalkeeper, the debut is unforgettable. Pfaff makes his debut in opposition to Cruijff’s Netherlands within the quarterfinals. The Italian referee is doing his personal factor by intimidating Neeskens in entrance of Michelotti’s eyes and inflicting him to overlook a penalty kick.

The Pink Devils take the lead with Van Gool, however then the Oranges equalize with Rep and shut the matches with their captain’s dexterity. Which Pfaff walks out the door smiling and as if nothing had occurred, and congratulates his 14th competitor:

“Nobody understood me – will clarify – Nonetheless Cruijff had scored a improbable purpose and my sense of sportsmanship compelled me to go with him.“.

That is why Pfaff is a good hero within the nationwide crew. Euro 1980 in Italy. In actual fact, it’s due to the parades of the ultra-over-defender that Belgium has reached. closing in opposition to West Germany, then misplaced 2-1 It is his fault in Hrubesch. However Belgium is without doubt one of the rising nationwide groups within the Previous Continent, and Pfaff turns into considered one of its symbols.

There are too many expectations for 1982 World Cup in spain. self outlined ‘door clown’Belgian fullback performs at a excessive degree in group 3, however the Spanish journey takes longer than anticipated. In actual fact, within the third match in opposition to Hungary, A fierce sport conflict with Gerets He knocks them each out and each gamers are compelled to return dwelling.

Diavoli Rossi completed final within the quarter-final Group A, with out each legs.

“If Eric and I hadn’t been damage, – discusses – Belgium may have reached the ultimate and… they received. We would not be afraid of anybody, not Brazil or Italy.”

Pfaff, who locations a small teddy bear like a small talisman that he all the time carries with him behind the purpose earlier than every match, additionally protects the Belgian purpose in opposition to Belgium. Euro ’84, The match the place Diavoli Rossi didn’t surpass his personal group and completed Group A in third place after France and Denmark, and Mexico ’86.

Solely the Mexico World Cup marks a peak within the profession of the Belgian goalkeeper, who turned one of many best heroes after risking to not take part. Pfaff was really significantly injured and In competitors with Munaron Anderlecht’s.

“When you discover your place to begin at Bayern once more, – coach Thys guarantees him – You’ll come to Mexico”.

Pink Devils, World Cup shock, Pfaff, Renamed by the Mexicans ‘Sympathetic’, or ‘Sympathetic’, He delivers on his promise due to his eternal smile and leads his crew to the semi-finals with nice saves (particularly in opposition to the Soviet Union within the final 16). Right here the destiny of little Belgium intersects with the destiny of Maradona’s Argentina. Maradona’s Argentina ends that dream with a tremendous increase and wins the problem made to him by the acute defender.

“The pre-match temper of the group – Jean-Marie would later inform – It was much like the one respiratory within the locker room earlier than the 1980 European Championship closing. Both method, we’re satisfied we do not stand an opportunity. We had quite a lot of respect for Germany and Argentina. I believe once I see Maradona shake all our defenses If there was a person like Ludo Coeck, Diego would by no means have achieved such success.“.

Belgium completed in 4th place after shedding the ultimate 4-2 in opposition to Platini’s France. Upon returning dwelling, the crew is greeted by 10,000 followers celebrating on the Grote Markt in Brussels.

For Pfaff, his journey with the nationwide crew resulted in 1987, when the goalkeeper was now 33 years outdated. His final match with the Pink Devils, his sixty fourth sport, was performed in opposition to Bulgaria on September 23, 1987, after which Thys opted for the rising star and his successor, Michel Preud’homme.

Jean-Marie, who likes to say about herself: “There was Eddy Merckx on the bike. Now there’s Pfaff on soccer” he would not take it effectively in any respect and leaves by slamming the door.

“With out the sponsorship agreements – discusses – No doubt, I might be the document holder for the nationwide crew.”

On the finish of 1987 he consoles himself with these phrases: World’s greatest goalkeeper award Acknowledged by the Worldwide Federation of Soccer Historical past and Statistics IFFHS.

Jean-Marie PfaffBongarts


At membership degree after successful with Beveren 1978 Belgian Cup and being awarded the identical yr Belgian Footballer of the 12 months with Soulier d’Or, subsequent yr wins the championship and Inter eradicated in Cup Winners’ Cup Bersellini reached the quarter-finals and superior to the semi-finals.

However the true leap takes it in 1982/83, After the World Cup in Spain, Purchased by Bayern Munich. Along with the Bavarians, Pfaff begins a cycle of success, however First sport within the Bundesliga nightmarish. In actual fact, in a tense formation, he drops the ball from his hand and sends it behind his personal purpose to foretell the output of the opposing attackers.

Nonetheless, the Belgian goalkeeper is steadily climbing the hill and, together with his great and spectacular saves, manages to ascertain himself additionally in German soccer, the place he’s quickly thought of the inheritor to the nice Sepp Maier. Defending the Bayern purpose, Pfaff thus received 3 Bundesliga (1984/85, 1985/86, 1986/87), 2 German Cups (1983/84 and 1985/86) and a German Tremendous Cup (1987).

He reached the European Cup closing together with his crew in 1986/87, however misplaced 2-1 to Porto on the comeback. in that race He suffered the well-known back-heel purpose of Algerian Madjer.that of the short-term 1-1.

After taking part in 156 instances in 5 seasons, he left Bayern Munich in 1988 and transferred on the age of 33. newly promoted Lierse. The crew completed in tenth place and the histrionic goalie the next yr He ends his profession in Turkey on the age of 36. the place he accepted the provide Trabzonspor and finishes in third place.

Jean-Marie Pfaff, former Bayern goalkeepergetty


To bid farewell to soccer, Pfaff held a farewell match on the Beerschot subject in 1991. they’re dealing with Belgium within the 80s this can be a The selection of world stars, together with Beckenbauer, Krol, Platini, Roger Milla, Giresse and Lerby. The race is broadcast stay in 36 international locations.

The incident is a chance for the goalkeeper to argue with the Belgian Federation, who’s responsible of not giving him the eye he deserves.

“Because it appeared not possible for the Federation to rejoice their heroes, I dealt with it. – declares – And certainly, as they are saying, if I had been so hated within the soccer world, I would not have been in a position to collect so many stars for my farewell social gathering.”

Within the 1998/99 season, he labored within the public relations trade, hanging up his boxing gloves when he tried his hand at first as Ostend’s coach after which as Turnhout’s common supervisor. Being the sufferer of an excessive amount of prejudice, he quickly needed to increase the white flag. From his spouse Carmen He had 3 daughters who gave him many grandchildren. in 2003 opened the doorways of his villa, the place the entire household, together with his brothers and sisters, lived. a actuality present.

The truth present was so profitable that it was prolonged in Belgium for a number of years. Aside from that, Pfaff additionally starred German TV collection ‘Love Storm’, the place he performs himself.

An eccentric and by no means banal character, Pelé is remembered for his huge saves, which led him to incorporate him within the FIFA 100 record of the 125 best residing footballers, and win trophies with Beveren and Bayern Munich, in addition to together with his geese. and jokes.

For instance, after being humiliated a number of instances in a pleasant match in opposition to the Netherlands in Rotterdam, They throw fruit and greens from the stalls. HE IS He takes an apple and eats it leaning in opposition to a pole. Or after the 82 World Cup victory match He pulled out a chair from the aspect and sat between the posts. The way in which he interpreted the position of goalkeeper didn’t stop him from being world primary in his position.

“My experiences with Bayern and the nationwide crew – He’ll underline UEFA’s microphones – It got here with dedication. I all the time needed to enhance and be the strongest.”

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