German goalkeeping legend Sepp Maier turns 65 on Saturday, Feb. 28, but the former Bayern Munich shot stopper insists that won't slow him down nor push him any closer to actual retirement.
Sepp Maier says he won't slow down anytime soon
Maier will always be remembered for his efforts trying to catch a stray duck that wondered onto the field during a Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and VfL Bochum in 1976.
With play concentrated up the other end of the field, Maier decided to concentrate on the duck. He slowly crawled towards it before theatrically diving to catch it.
Needless to say he failed in his attempt to catch the animal, but achieved his goal of entertaining the fans.
Such is the degree that Maier is remembered for his theatrics both inside and outside the goalmouth, his birthday has been honored by the country's soccer federation, the DFB, and the German government, which posted online articles commemorating the career and life of the man. The DFB has proclaimed Maier German goalkeeper of the century.
No slowing down
Franz Beckenbauer, left, and Maier were instrumental in the World Cup win
Although he is now at an age at which most people gratefully accept retirement, Maier insists his years of dotage are still far off.
True to his word, Maier will not celebrate his birthday quietly with family and friends in Bavaria. Instead, he will be on stage in Berlin, performing as a singer and magician in the show "Das Ueberraschungsfest der Volksmusik," the DFB said on its Web site.
"It will be great. There will be plenty of people to celebrate with me and I don't have to pay," Maier told German news agency DPA.
"I have no interest in retiring. If one retires you become even older, at least your spirit becomes older," he said. "If you have no plans in your life you might as well get buried immediately."
Maier also helped West Germany to a 1972 European Championship
Maier was between the sticks for West Germany when it hosted and won the 1974 World Cup, playing alongside German soccer greats Franz Beckenbauer, Berti Vogts and Gerd Mueller.
Two years earlier he helped West Germany win the European Championships. With Bayern he won five Bundesliga titles, four German Cups and three European Champions trophies. "Those were the highlights of my life," he said.
Maier had 95 caps and played 473 Bundesliga games for Bayern Munich, but in 1979 his career came to an abrupt end when he was badly injured in a car accident.
Just short of a year ago, he said goodbye to his soccer life when he retired as Bayern Munich goalkeeping coach -- around the same time his prodigy Oliver Kahn retired.
"I was with the club since I was 15 years old, but it had to be. I can't be there until I am 100, even though there is a tinge of sadness."