German football legend Uwe Seeler has died at the age of 85.
Seeler led West Germany to the 1966 World Cup final as captain and was regarded as one of the country’s best-ever players.
Famous for his overhead-kicks and ability to score goals from the unlikeliest of angles, Seeler was also respected for his unwavering loyalty to Hamburg.
“Uwe Seeler stands for everything that characterises a good person: Down-to-earthness, loyalty, joie de vivre, plus he was always approachable,” HSV board member Jonas Boldt wrote in a statement.
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“He is the epitome of HSV. I personally have special memories of our get-together on his last birthday. He talked shop, asked about his HSV, gave me tips and a few sayings.
“We will never forget him and will always cherish him. Now our thoughts and sympathy go out to Uwe’s family, to whom we extend our heartfelt condolences.”
Seeler played for his hometown club from 1952 to 1973.
He scored 43 goals in 72 games for West Germany across 16 years with the national team finishing runner-up to England at the 1966 World Cup and in third place four years later in Mexico.
Seeler in action against the Soviet Union at Goodison Park in the 1966 World Cup semi-finals
Boldt continued in his statement: “With Uwe Seeler, HSV has lost the greatest sportsman in its club history. Seeler was registered with HSV on 1 April 1946 by his father Erwin with membership number 1725 and went on to become one of the best centre-forwards in the world. In 587 competitive games for the Rothosen, he scored a whopping 507 goals, making him the club’s undisputed record goalscorer to this day.
“It was not only Seeler’s sporting successes and records that were unparalleled, but above all his down-to-earth, fair and loyal manner that earned the Hamburg-born player a reputation as an absolute man of honour and coined the phrase: ‘I’m no better than anyone else, I’m just a normal person. I just played football.’ In 2003, Seeler was made an honorary citizen of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
“Our deepest sympathy goes to the family and all friends of “Us Uwe” Seeler.”