Bastian Schweinsteiger named German Football Ambassador 2017 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.05.2017
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Bastian Schweinsteiger named German Football Ambassador 2017

Already a world champion and cult hero, Bastian Schweinsteiger is now also German football ambassador. The Chicago Fire midfielder wins the audience prize, while Miroslav Klose and coach Horst Kriete are also winners.

Big names, great achievements: The former German national players Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mirsolav Klose as well as coach Horst Kriete were awarded the prize of German Footballer Ambassadors on Tuesday in Berlin.

The Chicago Fire's standout star won the audience prize, and given the sympathy he gained during his turbulent spell at Manchester United that can be no surprise. While the former Bayern player has Major League Soccer duties and could not participate in the ceremony in Berlin, ex-national team colleague Miroslav Klose collected his honorary prize personally at the Federal Foreign Office.

Football knows only one language

Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised Klose in his speech in Berlin, emphasizing that fair play and sincerity are crucial to the integrity of football. Schweinsteiger was one of ten nominees in the best player category. "Football reflects a sense of cohesion both nationally and internationally. Football knows only one language: we are stronger as a team," said Schweinsteiger, who is now playing regularly again at Chicago Fire, in an acceptance speech.

Horst Kriete, a tireless worker for almost 40 years as a football and development expert, won the coach's prize. The trained teacher contributed to the positive development of football in Nigeria, China and South Africa, where he met former president Nelson Mandela. "He taught us football, we taught him the looseness," said a South African colleague about Kriete, who helped to develop structures and not only to train footballers, but also people.

Seeler recorded in Hall of Fame

"The three prize-winners have contributed in a particular way to the prestige of Germany in the world, and have shaped its image sustainably," said the jury, which included Uwe Seeler. The 80-year-old was the first member of the newly formed Hall of Fame, and the jury's chairman, Rainer Holzschuh, said: "I had a great time in the jury and received exciting insights into football in other countries. It is an honor for me to be the first to be accepted into the Hall of Fame," said Seeler.

jw (sid/dpa)