Terrifying, simply terrifying.

Der Tiger and the Big Boss - not nicknames you would give a shrinking violet and Stefan Effenberg was anything but. Outspoken, controversial, at war with opposition players, fans, at times even his team-mates and own management, Effenberg was a warrior throughout his career.

From giving Germany fans the middle finger during the 1994 World Cup to having an affair with his team-mate Thomas Strunz's wife, it's fair to say he's very much his own man. Our favourite story? The time he stole team-mate Brian Laudrup's new car and agog that the Dane might have a problem with this and without a trace of irony, he responded simply "I only went for a drive in your car, I didn't fuck your wife."

To back this up in 514 games he collected 138 yellow cards and 8 red and had a reputation as comfortably one of the toughest midfielders in world football throughout his playing career. Don't get us wrong, he was an excellent player and a geuinely goal-scoring midfielder (notching up a not too shabby 97 goals), his eye for a pass was almost unrivalled, but his real legacy was a win-at-all-costs attitude and a fearsome aura that mainly wilted against in confrontation. 

Happily, since retirement he has continued to speak his mind as and when he feels like it, offering the view that the unemployed are lazy during an interview with Playboy in 2002, stating after the whole substitute affair that Carlos Tevez would "never play on the same team as me again, that goes without saying", right up to criticising 'predictable' Bayern and in particular Bastian Schweinsteiger last year just after they had reached the Champions League final.

It's fair to say we love Stefan Effenberg, but we're very scared of him. As today (2nd August) is his birthday we thought we better mark it before he sent in the hounds to IBWM Towers. The video below celebrates his all-round game and will convince you he had the skill to back the attitude. The soundtrack is German dance music so if that's your thing you'll have a ball, the rest of us are enjoying it on mute however.


AuthorDavid Hartrick