BERLIN.- Uwe Seelerone of the leading figures in post-World War II German football, died at the age of 85, announced this Thursday the city of Hamburg, where he developed most of his career.
“Hamburg mourns Uwe Seeler, was the first top scorer in the Bundesliga. He died surrounded by those close to him, ”said the local government of the Hanseatic city on his Twitter account. He was Hamburg’s top scorer with 490 goals.
Germany’s women’s national soccer team made the decision to play in the European Championship quarterfinals against Austria on Thursday wearing black armbands. Seeler marked the history of the main club in his hometown, Hamburg, where he played from 1956 to 1972. He never changed colors and even, in the seventies, he received an offer to play for Internazionale, Milan. But he rejected it: he confessed that one of his fears was to fail in Calcio and that no German club could have the necessary funds to bring him back to German football.
Seeler also wore the colors of the West German national team between 1954 and 1970. He played 72 games for his national team, scoring 33 goals in them, but he could never be world champion. He was incorporated into the German national team after that team’s world title in 1954 and in 1966 he played in the World Cup final, but lost to England. In total he participated in four World Cups: Sweden 1958, Chile 1962, England 1966 and Mexico 1970.
A well-remembered goal was the one he scored four years later, in Mexico 1970, in the match for the quarterfinals, precisely against the executioner of the 1966 final: England. Germany attacked and after a cross passed from the left to the right sector, with all the discomfort of having to watch the ball in the air almost from behind, Seeler hit an extraordinary header with a mouthpiece.
The Hamburg Club sent him off with emotion: “Uwe Seeler represents everything that characterizes a good person: down-to-earth, loyalty, joie de vivre, and he was always approachable. He is the epitome of HSV. Personally, I have a special memory that we were together on his last birthday, ”said the entity’s sporting director, Jonas Boldt. “I remember he talked about business, he asked him about his Hamburg, he gave me advice and told some jokes. We will never forget it and we will always cherish it. Now our thoughts and condolences go to Uwe’s family, to whom we express our deepest condolences,” he added.
Seeler also became a legend off the court. He has been an honorary citizen of the city of Hamburg since 2003. Married to Ika, of the same age, since 1959, he has three daughters and seven grandchildren, one of whom is a professional footballer for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga: Levin Öztunali (26 ).
Seeler’s life was normal until he suffered several accidents that undermined his health. It all started some time ago, back in 2010, in a traffic accident, as a result of which he had to be hospitalized due to cervical injuries, blows to the head and cracked ribs. In addition, he lost hearing in his right ear.
The sequels afflicted him even during the following year, in which he had to undergo surgery to extract bone fragments in areas near the spine, with bleeding included. Later, he suffered several domestic falls, with consequences that were different from the traditional ones: hip fracture. And in addition, a pacemaker was placed due to cardiac disorders.
Two former international figures described him with great sensitivity when asked by the Bild newspaper. World champion in Italy 1990, Rudi Völler pointed out: “My thoughts are with his family, to whom I offer my deepest condolences. Uwe was a wonderful person, one of the greatest idols of German sport to have left us.”
The giant Horst Hrubesch, another fearsome predator in the area, now 71 years old, said: “Uwe is the best part of Hamburg. He was sensational, unique, all in all a great person who I will miss every day from now on”.