The legendary Belgian former top goalkeeper spoke with Discoveryfootball.com
Undoubtedly one of the leading goalkeepers in world football has been Belgium’s, Jean-Marie Pfaff. A gentle and cheerful man who is now involved in his business, always in the field of football, and who was pleased to talk to Discoveryfootball.com.
The Belgian former top goalkeeper spoke of the big economic horizons being opened in football with the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The reflection on VAR. Belgium which he considers a favourite for Εuro. Today’s three great goalkeepers and much more.
Pfaff was named by Pele as one of the top 125 greatest living footballer in March 2004. Jean-Marie Pfaff (born 4 December 1953 in Lebbeke) is a former goalkeeper who spent most of his professional career with Beveren and FC Bayern Munich. Pfaff was capped 64 times playing for Belgium and participated at the 1982 World Cup and 1986 World Cup tournaments. At the age of 16, Pfaff joined Beveren with whom he won a Belgian champions title (1979) and a Belgian Cup (1978). The same year, he received the Belgian Golden Shoe.
In 1982, he entered the Bayern Munich squad, getting three Bundesliga titles (from 1985 to 1987) and two German cups (1984 and 1986).
DF: Really what are you doing now.
R/: «With many things. Workshop around the football field always. When it was time for me to leave football I didn’t leave. I stayed because I love it. I did some studies, and that helped me to develop in other areas as well. So I can help a new president who takes over a group, as I do in Germany, Austria can get his job done. You tell me exactly how I help them … I help them manage their contracts with the players, how they behave towards their players in order to gain character. Very important thing nowadays. I even show them how to get organized. I have an important assistant to my wife, Carmen. «
DF: Where’s your base?
«My base is here in Beerschot (Brasschatt) , but I can move anywhere in Europe at any time or unless the job requires it. I also help the goalkeepers to improve. I always love Greece, but both games against PAOK which had a very good team, as I know now from a friend of mine who lives there. Then (November 1983 – UEFA Cup, B’ round) we had a 0-0 draw in Thessaloniki and so did Munich. We had a lot of trouble with the Greek team. The result did not change and at some point, we reached the penalty shootout where I was knocked out of the last penalty (Malioufas) and qualified. In Greece I have to say we go with Carmen very often we have friends and have a great time .. I must say that at some point he even called me several years ago to help them in the organizational field .. «
DF: Your old team Bayern, how do you see it this year, will it be able to claim the UEFA Champions League?
«Bayern is getting bigger and bigger with each passing year. It has one of the best stadiums in the world for Allianz, a wonderful organization and of course the 12th player who is its amazing world. Munich is a great place to live. As for the UEFA Champions League, there are a number of strong teams to contend with, such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Liverpool, Dortmund, of course, and Bayern.»
The favourite is Belgium
DF: In the summer we have the final stage of the European Championship. Which teams do you think will be leading?
«My favourite is Belgium. It has a wonderful national team with great players like Hazard , De Bruyne, Courtois, Lukaku. Certainly good and valuable teams have Italy, which is a young team. Germany that always fights. But I repeat that the current Belgian national who has won 10 matches in a match (like Italy) is the first favourite. Don’t forget France, who owns the World Cup and has a very good squad and important players. «
DF: You say that the Belgian national is right, it has a great team. But why is Belgian football at club level no longer as powerful as it was 20 years ago?
«Why all the good footballers are leaving for abroad very soon. Their teams sell them in order to save money. And this is what all the teams do, even the theoretically most powerful economies of Underground or Standard Liege. So it can’t make the league stronger … «
DF: In 2022 we will have the final stage of the World Cup in Qatar, the first Arab country to host the world’s top football event.
Oblak, Alisson, Neuer
DF: Which goalkeepers do you stand out in world football right now?
R/: Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Alisson (Liverpool) and Neuer (Bayern Munich) who use their feet well beyond their abilities, they also use their feet well. They know how to send the ball and create goals for them, a very important thing in today’s football .. «
DF: What about the VAR that is making a lot of noise across Europe, what do you think?
«It is indeed a very serious issue that needs a lot of attention. I remember a game of Bayern this year with Wolfsburg that became a big issue because the ball hit the shoulder of a player. The referee didn’t have to repeat the video several times, 10 or 12 if I remember well and confidently again no one can say whether or not he was. Of course, if there was technology in the 1966 final between England and Germany would be an offside goal. Certainly, technology is a good thing to help referees, but they should not forget that they run the game. In England, however, I have encountered many problems.