90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 22 – Curb Your Enthusiasm Special

Following a week in which: 

– Liverpool SHOCKED the world by losing. 

– Atalanta SHOCKED the world by thumping Valencia 4-1. 

– Erling Haaland SHOCKED the world by scoring an absolute thunderb*stard. 

– Manchester City SHOCKED the world by beating West Ham…well, maybe that wasn’t shocking…

We, using quotes from pretty, pretty, pretty good TV show ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, rank the 15 best teams in Europe. 


15. Sheffield United (Re-Entry) 

Billy Sharp

“I’m trying to elevate small talk to medium talk.”

 

?Sheffield United didn’t play this past week because, to quote ?Krishan Davis (I don’t know any Sheffield United fans, ok): “They enjoyed some much deserved downtime after moving within two points of the top four.” 


14. Manchester City (Down 1) 

Rodrigo

“And who knows, you know what? Maybe I’ll be able to need a lawyer someday.”

“Anything could happen.”

“A lot of people sue me.” 

?Manchester City need lawyers.

Manchester City need a lot of lawyers. 

Manchester City need a lot of the best lawyers in the world to appeal against UEFA’s FFP sanctions, or they could be absolutely f**ked. 


13. Inter (Down 11)

Romelu Lukaku

“Let’s all go upstairs and all get under the covers and sob.”

After ?Inter’s harrowing, soul destroying, absolutely devastating defeat at the hands of title rivals SS Lazio, their fanbase all went upstairs, got under the covers and sobbed. 


12. Paris Saint-Germain (Down 9) 

Antonio Mateu Lahoz,Marco Verratti

“Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn’t work as a pie. Grape pie? There’s no grape pie.” 

Paris Saint-Germain work in Ligue 1. They sort of work in the Champions League group stages. I wonder why they don’t work in the Champions League knockout rounds. 

Paris Saint-Germain: Champions League winners? 

That won’t happen. 


11. Marseille (Up 1) 

Andre Villas-Boas

“You don’t respect wood.” 

While Andre Villas-Boas is still somewhat of a laughing stock in England, he’s earning the respect he deserves in France by winning week in, week out with Marseille. 

Les Pohoceens have won their last three Ligue 1 games, and are unbeaten in their last 14. Nice one.


10. Real Madrid (Down 5) 

Toni Kroos

“Have you ever been the victim of a serious crime?”

“My cousin once stole an Almond Joy from me. It was upsetting at the time but, ummm…”

I mean, ?Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo was probably quite upsetting at the time for Los Blancos fans, but it’s not the end of the world. 

They’re still top of La Liga, and have lost just one league game all season. It’s still all gravy, baybee. 


9. Barcelona (Up 2)

Frenkie de Jong,Samuel Umtiti

“You know who wears sunglasses inside? Blind people and assholes.”

You know who steals a relegation threatened team’s star striker outside of the transfer window, ensuring that team can’t replace said star striker? ?Barcelona, La Liga and assholes. 


8. Juventus (Down 1) 

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-BRESCIA

“I always think of nice things but never act on them.”

Maurizio Sarri coming to ?Juventus and getting them to play exciting, passing football was a nice thought.

Sarri-ball was a nice thought.

It’s just a pity it hasn’t been acted on yet.


7. Bayern Munich (Re-Entry) 

Thomas Mueller

“It’s people like you that are the problem.”

“No, I’m the solution! I’m the solution to the problem!” 

After about a year of people telling you that Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng are finished and are a serious problem for ?Bayern, it turns out that they’re the solution.

Because they’re some of the key players in Bayern’s post-Christmas surge to the top of the Bundesliga table. Thomas Muller, alone, has registered 14 assists in BuLi this season; that’s Jadon Sancho numbers.


6. RB Leipzig (Re-Entry) 

Jose Mourinho,Julian Nagelsmann

“You can put my colon up next to your colon; we’ll see who has a cleaner, healthier colon.” 

On Wednesday night, the Champions League pitted the baldy Mourinho against the ‘mini-Mourinho’, and we saw who has a cleaner, healthier col…ahem…I mean…we saw who the better manager was.

It’s ‘mini-Mourinho’: Julian Nagelsmann.


5. Liverpool (Down 4) 

Mohamed Salah

“I think every erection is a miracle.”

It’s a miracle!!!!!! 

?Liverpool have lost a game of football!!!! 

They actually lost!!!!! 

And because they lost, the Reds have been knocked off their perch atop of 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings. 

It’s a miracle!!!!!!


4. Borussia Dortmund (Re-Entry) 

Erling Haaland

“You know, it’s kinda of half-jacket, half-shirt; half-man, half-beast.”

‘What is Erling Haaland? How is he this good?’ 

Well, you know, it’s because he’s kinda half-Ruud van Nistelrooy, half-Ivan Drago; half-Paul from Tekken, half-beast. 


3. Atletico Madrid (Re-Entry) 

Diego Pablo Simeone

“I’ll have a vanilla…one of the vanilla bulls**t things. You know, whatever you want, some vanilla bulls**t latte, cappa thing. Whatever you got – I don’t care.”

?Atletico Madrid’s style of play is some seriously boring vanilla bulls**t, but bah gawd it worked against Liverpool in midweek. 

After snatching an early goal at Wanda Metropolitano, Atleti – in true Simeone-ball fashion – sat back, defended for their lives, and spoiled the game at every opportunity.

It was boring af, but also pretty damn impressive.


2. Atalanta (Re-Entry) 

Remo Freuler

“A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone.”

An Atalanta game is an experience you have that makes you appreciate football.

They are BOX OFFICE.

They are, by some distance, the most exciting team to watch in Europe, and they’re one of the best teams in Europe too. 

This past week they absolutely hammered Valencia 4-1 at San Siro in their first ever Champions League knockout round game; scoring two of the best goals you’re likely to see in the UCL this season in the process. 

Oh, they also scored their 62nd and 63rd Serie A goals of the season – 11 more than any other team – in a huge win over AS Roma in Serie A. 

They are BOX OFFICE. 


1. SS Lazio (Up 3)  

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A

“Pretty, pretty, pretty good.”

Well Lazio fans, that win over Inter was pretty, pretty, pretty good, eh? 

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is pretty, pretty, pretty good, eh?

Ciro Immobile is pretty, pretty, pretty good, eh? 

Simone Inzaghi is pretty, pretty, pretty good, eh? 

Going on a 19 game unbeaten run in Serie A is pretty, pretty, pretty good, eh? 

Being just one point adrift of top spot is pretty, pretty, pretty good, eh? 


Let’

Inter’s 10 Greatest Footballers of All Time

Inter are a household name in world football, so it’s hardly surprising that one of the greatest clubs on the planet has also played host to some of the game’s biggest superstars.

I Nerazzurri are a team steeped in history, have a bulging trophy cabinet and a roll call of top class footballers to boot.

Devising a top ten from all those stars is no easy task, considering the deluge of legends to choose from, but we’ve done the hard miles and the leg work for you in whittling the selection down to the best of the best.

Here are Inter’s ten greatest ever players…


Giuseppe Meazza

French referee Georges Capdeville (C) looks on as

?Inter Career: 1927-1940, 1946-47 

So good they named the stadium after him. In 1980, San Siro was renamed Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in honour of the Italian great.

Meazza had the golden touch in front of goal, seen by his status as ?Inter’s highest ever goalscorer with 284, and he is ranked the fourth highest in Serie A’s all-time strikes chart.

He was as prolific a striker as you could see and he still holds the record for being the youngest ever player to reach 100 goals in the Italian top flight, achieving the feat at the age of 23 years and 32 days.

Major Achievements: Serie A (x3), Coppa Italia


Javier Zanetti 

Javier Zanetti

Inter Career: 1995-2014

Mr Inter. Zanetti played in the famous black and blue for an unprecedented 19 years, making over 600 Serie A appearances for Inter in a career spanning over three decades.

The former full back is a club legend and record-breaker, with his 858 games for the club unrivalled. He also won an incredible 16 major honours during his time at San Siro. 

The Argentine skippered the side for 15 seasons and the retirement of his number four shirt shows just how much of an impact he made in Milan.

Major Achievements: Serie A (x5), Coppa Italia (x4), Champions League, Supercoppa Italiana (x4) UEFA Cup, Club World Cup


Giacinto Facchetti

Armando Picchi,Giacinto Facchetti

Inter Career: 1960-1978

A one club man, the left back played his entire senior career with Inter, racking up an impressive 476 appearances and 59 goals from defence.

Facchetti was a key component of the ‘Grande Inter’ side. He played on the left of a back three in a team which won three Scudetti and two European Cups in just four years.

In the 1965/66 campaign, Facchetti reached double figures in the league, averaging nearly a goal every three games. Not too shabby for a defender, eh?

Major Achievements: Serie A (x4), European Cup (x2), Coppa Italia (x1), Intercontinental Cup (x2) 


Walter Zenga

UEFA Cup

Inter Career: 1978-1994

Zenga was Inter’s man between the sticks for 16 years and was lauded as one of the safest pair of hands in the game. The goalkeeper was considered the best in the world for three years on the trot but it was his final season with Inter that forever endeared him to the Nerazzurri faithful.

In the 1994 UEFA Cup final against Salzburg, in his last ever game for the club, Zenga produced heroics as Inter secured a 2-0 aggregate victory to clinch the trophy.

Major Achievements: Serie A, UEFA Cup (x2), Supercoppa Italiana, IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper (x3), Serie A Footballer of the Year


Lothar Matthäus

Inter Career: 1988-1992

The German was the complete footballer ?and the definition of a box to box midfielder. When Matthäus landed in Milan, Inter were without a trophy in seven years.

But he soon put that right.

In his debut season, he quickly became the heartbeat of the Nerazzurri and adopted the number ten shirt, helping Inter scoop their first Scudetto in eight years. 

A midfielder with the knack of scoring crucial goals, his match-winning performances for Inter would land him the greatest individual prize of them all – the Ballon d’Or in 1990.

Major Achievements: Serie A, UEFA Cup, Supercoppa Italiana, Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year


Giuseppe Bergomi

Inter Career: 1979-1999

Bergomi bled black and blue, the defender spent his entire career playing for Inter, ?an incredible 20-year stay which amounted to a staggering 756 appearances for the club.

El Zio, (the uncle) as he was affectionately known, was a commanding presence in the backline and skippered his beloved Inter for many years. 

Remarkably, he only won one ?Serie A title but can lay claim to a hat trick of UEFA Cup winner’s medals and is the competition’s record holder for matches played with 96 to his name.

Major Achievements: Serie A, UEFA Cup (x3), Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana


Diego Milito

Diego Milito

Inter Career: 2009-2014

Milito almost single-handedly won the ?Champions League final in Inter’s treble-winning season as he bagged a brace in a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in 2010.

Following his arrival from Zaragoza, Milito was tasked with replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Hardly an easy task, but thanks to his debut season heroics the Argentine wrote his name into Nerazzuri folklore.

The striker scored 22 goals during the league campaign, then hit the only goal in the Coppa Italia final before saving his best for last and bringing home Europe’s most prestigious prize.

Major Achievements: Serie A, Champions League, Coppa Italia (x2), Supercoppa Italiana, FIFA World Club Cup


Luis Suárez


Inter Career: 1961-1970

No, not the Uruguayan hotshot with a sizeable appetite, but a Spanish midfielder who was the orchestrator behind Helenio Herrera’s ‘Grande Inter’ side.

‘El Arquitecto’ was a true artisan in the centre of the park, known for his fluid and elegant style of play. He was the forefather to Xavi, a deep-lying playmaker with an eye for a pass.

A Ballon d’Or winner with ?Barcelona, he became the world’s most expensive footballer when he switched to San Siro for £100,000 in 1961.

Nowadays, Suarez would be an absolute bargain.

Major Achievements: Serie A (x3), European Cup (x2), Intercontinental Cup (x2)


Sandro Mazzola

Inter Career: 1960-1977

Clearly Inter has an irrepressible lure as Mazzola is yet another who spent the entirety of his playing days representing the Nerazzurri.

The attacking midfielder is seen as one of the greatest players of his generation, such was his guile, creativity and tendency to find the back of the net. He scored 158 times in 565 games during his illustrious career.

Mazzola was an integral part of the ‘Grande Inter’ team and even after those glory years he remained at San Siro to captain the side for seven years until his retirement in 1977. 

Major Achievements: Serie A (x4), European Cup (x2), Intercontinental Cup (x2)


Ronaldo

Ronaldo Nazario - Soccer Player

Inter Career: 1997-2002

The original Ronaldo, a world beater and a true Inter legend. But don’t take my word for it, just ask his peers…

“Ronaldo during his first two years at Inter was a phenomenon.” – Paolo Maldini

“For me, Ronaldo is the greatest. He was as [good as] Pele. There was nobody like him. No one has influenced both football and the players who emerged as Ronaldo” – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“Ronaldo was my hero. He was the best striker I’ve ever seen. He was so fast he could score from nothing and could shoot the ball better than anyone” – Lionel Messi

“The worst experience I ever had was playing against Ronaldo when we faced Internazionale in the 1998 UEFA Cup Final in Paris. We lost 3-0 but I don’t think now it was my fault. Ronaldo was simply unstoppable.” – Alessandro Nesta

Major Achievements: Ballon d’Or (x2), FIFA World Player of the Year (x3), UEFA Cup 

Let’

Ludogorets 0-2 Inter: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Eriksen’s First Goal Helps Nerazzurri to Win

Christian Eriksen scored his first goal for Inter as the Nerazzurri defeated Ludogorets 2-0 in the first leg of the teams’ Europa League Round of 32 clash. 

?The hosts managed to frustrate Antonio Conte’s side early on, slowing the tempo of the game and defending in numbers.

Antonio Biraghi and ?Eriksen were both afforded half chances, ?but neither player was able to convert meaning the first half finished goalless. 

FBL-EUR-C3-LUDOGORETS-INTER-MILAN

Inter improved after the introduction of ?Romelu Lukaku from the bench on the hour mark. They eventually got their reward for some promising attacks when Eriksen fired a shot home from the edge of the box after some neat build-up play. 

The visitors were given the chance to double their lead when they were awarded a last-minute penalty after a review by VAR; Lukaku converted from the spot to secure his side a 2-0 win. 

Here’s 90min’s verdict of the game…


LUDOGORETS

Player Ratings 

Starting XI: Ivanov (7); Cicinho (5), Terziev (6), Grigore (6), Nedyalkov (6); Dyakov (6), Anicet (6), Oliveira-Souza (5), Marcelinho (5), Swierczok (5), Wanderson (5)

Substitutes: Badji (5), Tchibota (5)


INTER

Key Talking Point 

?With Conte making seven changes to the side that suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Lazio on Sunday, this marked a big opportunity for some of Inter’s fringe players to stake a claim for a starting spot. 

Despite the rewards on offer, the Nerazzurri put in a lacklustre first half display that was devoid of any intensity and creativity going forward. 

In the end it took the introduction of Lukaku to spark Inter’s attack into life. The club’s star man provided the assist for Eriksen’s opening goal and added a much needed focal point to bring the midfield into the game.


Tonight showed how dependent Inter are on their top scorer, and with Lautaro Martinez ruled out of the second leg through suspension, Conte will likely have to call on Lukaku again. 

This will prevent the big Belgian from being rested in a potentially season-defining period in ?Serie A over the next month.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Padelli (6); Moses (6), Godin (7*), Ranocchia (7), D’Ambrosio (7), Biraghi (6); Vecino (5), Borja Valero (6), Eriksen (7); Martinez (5), Sanchez (5) 

Substitutes: Lukaku (7), Young (6), Barella (6)


Diego Godin

?After his former teammates at ?Atlético Madrid put in a spirited performances against ?Liverpool on Tuesday night, Diego Godin himself pulled out a fine European display against the Bulgarian champions. 

Diego Godin

The Uruguayan drove his team forward with some marauding runs and played a key role in Inter’s imperious defensive display, which restricted Ludogorets to just one attempt all evening.


Looking Ahead

Ludogorets return to action on Sunday and they will be looking to extend their seven-point lead at the top of the Bulgarian First League when they face mid-table Etar. ?

Inter also play on Sunday, with Conte’s side hosting struggling Sampdoria in Serie A. The Nerazzurri will be hoping to secure three points to close the gap on league leaders ?Juventus. 


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter! 

Let’

José Mourinho Has Managed 6 Different Clubs in Champions League Knockout Ties – His Record in Full

?José Mourinho became only the fourth manager in Champions League history to take charge of 150 games when he led a Tottenham Hotspur side against RB Leipzig on Wednesday night.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti are the only other coaches to reach that milestone in the Champions League, with only Ancelotti (84) winning more of those first 150 games than Mourinho (81).

Mourinho has also now drawn level with Ancelotti in terms of the most clubs managed in the Champions League knockout stages. Spurs, who lost to RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last 16 tie this week, are now Mourinho’s sixth different side.

Looking back through his personal Champions League knockout history, here’s how Mourinho has fared with each of his clubs over the last 16 years…


Porto

Jose Dos Santos Mourinho,Nuno Valente

Off the back of winning the UEFA Cup in 2002/03, the 2003/04 season was Mourinho’s very first managing in the Champions League, and he won the whole thing.

His first knockout tie was against Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson. Porto prevailed 3-2 on aggregate after dramatically sealing progress with a late Costinha goal at Old Trafford that sent Mourinho infamously running down the touchline.

Given that this was his only Champions League season with Porto, Mourinho’s knockout record was flawless, with other aggregate victories over Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna, before then also beating Monaco 3- 0 in the final.

?Season ?Tie Round?
?2003/04 ?Porto 3-2 Manchester United (agg) ?Last 16
?2003/04 ?Porto 4-2 Lyon (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2003/04 ?Porto 1-0 Deportivo La Coruna (agg) ?Semi Final
?2003/04 Porto 3-0 Monaco? ?Final

Chelsea

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho took Chelsea to the semi-finals in his first season there in 2004/05, falling to the Luis Garcia ‘ghost goal’ against Liverpool in a 1-0 aggregate defeat. Prior to that, Chelsea had beaten Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the last 16 and last eight respectively.

The following season, Barcelona took revenge on Mourinho’s Chelsea at the last 16 stage en route to lifting the trophy themselves. In 2006/07, it was another semi-final defeat to Liverpool, having earlier seen off Porto and Valencia in the previous rounds.

Season? Tie? Round?
?2004/05 ?Chelsea 5-4 Barcelona (agg) ?Last 16
?2004/05 ?Chelsea 6-5 Bayern Munich (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2004/05 ?Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool (agg) ?Semi Final
?2005/06 ?Chelsea 2-3 Barcelona (agg) ?Last 16
?2006/07 ?Chelsea 3-2 Porto (agg) ?Last 16
?2006/07 ?Chelsea 3-2 Valencia (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2006/07 ?Chelsea 1-1(p) Liverpool (agg) ?Semi Final

Inter

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho’s next job took him to Italy and Inter, where he experienced a last 16 Champions League exit to Manchester United in 2008/09. But the following season he won it for the second time in his career, and as part of a historic treble with Serie A and Coppa Italia titles.

Along the way to glory he beat former employers Porto and Barcelona, as well as getting the better of former boss Louis van Gaal against Bayern Munich in the final.

?Season Tie? Round?
?2008/09 ?Inter 0-2 Manchester United (agg) ?Last 16
?2009/10 ?Inter 3-1 Chelsea (agg) ?Last 16
?2009/10 ?Inter 2-0 CSKA Moscow (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2009/10 ?Inter 3-2 Barcelona (agg) ?Semi Final
?2009/10 Inter 2-0 Bayern Munich? ?Final

Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho

After the club had been knocked out at the last 16 stage six times in a row prior to his arrival, Mourinho consistently took Real Madrid to the last four every season he was at the Bernabéu, but crucially never further after falling at the penultimate hurdle three years in a row.

Each time, the semi-final defeat was against a different opponent, yet it perhaps stung no more than when it was Barcelona, later dubbed one of the greatest teams ever. Mourinho then fell foul of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, both of whom went on to lose their respective finals.

?Season Tie? Round?
?2010/11 ?Real Madrid 4-1 Lyon (agg) ?Last 16
?2010/11 Real Madrid 5-0 Tottenham (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2010/11 ?Real Madrid 1-3 Barcelona (agg) ?Semi Final
?2011/12 Real Madrid 5-2 CSKA Moscow? (agg) ?Last 16
?2011/12 ?Real Madrid 8-2 APOEL (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2011/12 Real Madrid 3-3(p) Bayern Munich (agg)? ?Semi Final
?2012/13 ?Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester United (agg) ?Last 16
?2012/13 ?Real Madrid 5-3 Galatasaray (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2012/13 ?Real Madrid 3-4 Borussia Dortmund (agg) ?Semi Final

Chelsea (again)

Jose Mourinho

Returning to Chelsea for a second spell, 2013/14 was a fifth consecutive season with a third different club where Mourinho reached at least the semi-finals. This time he was outfoxed by Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid, who won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the second leg.

A year later, Mourinho won his first Premier League trophy since 2006, but his Champions League streak was ended when Chelsea were knocked out at the last 16 stage by Paris Saint-Germain in a dramatic tie that was decided on away goals in extra-time at Stamford Bridge.

?Season Tie? Round?
?2013/14 Chelsea 3-1 Galatasaray (agg)? ?Last 16
?2013/14 ?Chelsea (a)3-3 Paris Saint-Germain (agg) ?Quarter Final
?2013/14 ?Chelsea 1-3 Atletico Madrid (agg) ?Semi Final
?2014/15 ?Chelsea 3-3(aet) Paris Saint-Germain (agg) ?Last 16

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho got Manchester United back into the Champions League by winning the Europa League in 2016/17, which had been his first season in Europe’s secondary club competition since lifting the trophy under its former UEFA Cup guise with Porto back in 2003.

United got to the knockout stages, as is the norm for Mourinho, but a dismal last 16 tie against Sevilla saw the Red Devils lose 2-1 at Old Trafford in the second leg. Fans fumed that it was only after going 2-0 down that the team showed any sort of impetus.

?Season Tie? Round?
2017/18? ?Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla (agg) Last 16?

Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho

Qualification for the 2019/20 Champions League knockout phase wasn’t all Mourinho’s doing after inheriting a Tottenham team from Mauricio Pochettino with only two group games to play, but they are now the sixth club he has managed at this stage of the competition.

However, to go any further Spurs must overturn a first leg defeat against RB Leipzig.

?Season

Tie?

Round?

2019/20? Tottenham 0-1 RB Leipzig? (first leg) Last 16?

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Let’

5 of the Best Moments of Lothar Matthäus’ Career

Lothar Matthäus is number 27 in 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series


?The complete footballer and an inspirational leader, Lothar Matthäus was one of the game’s greatest ever central midfielders. 

After conquering Germany with Bayern Munich in the mid-1980s, Matthäus set sail for Serie A to form part of the German revolution at Inter under Giovanni Trapattoni – a move that saw him thrive in Europe’s ultimate proving ground. 

His ability to play several midfield roles was what made ‘der panzer’ so special and he had the knack of simply making those around perform at a higher level. 

So from domestic triumph to World Cup greatness, here are some of the finest moments from Matthäus’ illustrious 21-year career. 


Maiden Bundesliga Crown, 1984/85


Following his development as a dynamic box-to-box midfielder at Borussia Monchengladbach, Matthäus made the switch to Bayern in 1984.

A refined passer, powerful tackler and partial to a thunderb**tard or two; Matthäus excelled in Bavaria from the get-go – with his 16 goals in his debut campaign guiding Bayern to the Bundesliga title, the first trophy of his career. 

Matthäus swiftly established himself as a leader in Udo Lattek’s imperious side, with double-figure goal tallies in 1985/86 and 1986/87, as he helped Bayern to three consecutive Meisterschales. He would then go on to lead his side out in the 1987 European Cup final against Porto in Vienna – albeit in agonising defeat. 

Nevertheless, his title victory in 1984/85 after a barren spell at Die Fohlen kickstarted an impressive haul of 15 major honours at a domestic level.


Immediate Scudetto Success, 1988/89


Despite the sky-high expectations, very few foreseen the immediate impact Matthäus would have at San Siro. 

With the influx of foreign playmakers spearheading their respective sides to Serie A glory in the 1980s, Inter now had theirs in Matthäus – who joined the club alongside West German teammate Andreas Brehme.

Playing in a more advanced role, compared to his time in the Bundesliga, the injection of Matthäus’ world-class talent galvanised the Nerazzurri squad, transforming them on the pitch. His nine goals in his debut season guided Inter to their first Scudetto in eight years, finishing an impressive 11 points clear of second-place Napoli. 


Italia ’90 Triumph

Lothar Matthaeus,Pierre Littbarski

Confidence was high within the West German camp heading into Italia ’90, despite falling at the final hurdle in both 1982 and 1986. 

With German icon Franz Beckenbauer at the helm, Matthäus skippered his country for the second time at a major tournament – leading an efficient core of individuals who, like Matthäus, were plying their trade in Serie A at the time. To nobody’s surprise, West Germany breezed through the group stages – with the captain scoring on three occasions, including a brace in a stellar individual performance against Yugoslavia.

Matthäus’ penalty was then enough the see his side overcome Czechoslovakia 1-0 in the quarter-finals before he repeated his spot-kick reliability in an unforgettable penalty shootout victory against England in the semi-final.

A gargantuan display by der panzer ensued on football’s grandest stage against Argentina, as he executed Beckenbauer’s task of shutting out the world’s best player, Diego Maradona, to perfection. It was a selfless performance, with El Diego later describing Matthäus as “the best rival I’ve ever had”.

And although it was Brehme who garnered the bulk of the glory following his game-winning spot-kick, it was the captain’s versatility and defensive nuance that guided Die Mannschaft to victory that day.


Ballon d’Or, 1990


Off the back of his fantastic display in the World Cup final at Stadio Olimpico, Matthäus was crowned as the winner of the Ballon d’Or on Christmas Day 1990, pipping that summers tournament’s Golden Boot and Ball winner Salvatore Schillaci to the post along with iconic midfield rival Paul Gascoigne. 

Continued individual brilliance followed at the Nerazzurri in the 1990/91 campaign, where he scored 23 times in 46 appearances and was just beaten by Sampdoria’s Gianluca Vialli in the race for the Capocannoniere that season.

And after guiding Inter to victory in the UEFA Cup in May 1991 with a 2-1 victory over Italian rivals Roma over two legs, Matthäus was recognised as FIFA’s inaugural World Player of the Year – an award that capped off a monumental two years for Matthäus, when der panzer truly was at the peak of his powers.


Die Mannschaft Record-Breaker, 2000

Lothar Matthaus

By the time Euro 2000 rolled around, a decade after his Ballon d’Or crown, Matthäus had developed into an outstanding sweeper – with his intelligence and tactical nous prolonging his career in a different role. 

And although the campaign itself was one to forget for Germany – now reunified by the way – it was a special one for Matthäus, as he became the first German to represent his country on 150 occasions (83 for West Germany) after appearing in a group stage game against Portugal.

By the time he’d called it a career at the impressive age of 39, Matthäus had played in nine major tournaments for Die Mannschaft since 1980, including five World Cup finals – being the first outfielder in history to achieve that feat.


Let’