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Hope to give Bhutia a fitting farewell

india Updated: Dec 28, 2011 00:43 IST
Karl Rummenigge
Karl Rummenigge
Hindustan Times
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I offer a humble namaste to millions of Indians who are football fans and have probably supported us for many years without even meeting us. In the way it brings strangers together lies one of the great beauties of sport and football in particular. At FC Bayern Munich, we are very excited about travelling to Delhi for the Audi Football Summit on January 10, which will be a farewell match for the Indian football star Bhaichung Bhutia.

As someone who has played with some distinction and great passion, I can tell you that it feels very special when your peers do something for you. We hope to make this a memorable outing for Bhaichung, for football fans in India and for the sake of those affected by the natural disaster in Sikkim.

I'm also happy to see a fellow-footballer hang up his boots in style and receive the respect of his federation, sponsors, media and teammates.

Spreading the game
In my various roles as a player for Germany and FC Bayern Munich and finally in sports management and becoming CEO at FC Bayern München AG, a daughter company of FC Bayern Munich, as well as being the acting chairman of the European Club Association, the betterment of the sport and players are issues that have been very close to my heart.

Whenever possible, Bayern Munich chalks out a plan with the help of its premier sponsors like Audi, to spread the game's message to other parts of the world. Europe and Latin America remain the hub of football but we want the sport to be popular and reach the zenith in Japan, India, China and other countries in Asia and Africa.

At Bayern, we encourage players to familiarise and interact with different cultures and environments. This comes in handy when our players from different countries seek to bond as one club. I'm very curious about Delhi's rich culture and ancient history. Starting from the times of the great scholar Max Mueller, Germans have always been interested in India.

I'm quite flattered to know from some of my friends in India that I was quite popularly followed there in my playing days, especially in the 1986 Fifa World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.

Well, we will soon be landing in Delhi to make new friends and produce some of the magic which has inspired millions around the world. Chalo Dilli!

(Former West Germany captain, Karl Heinz Rummenigge is now the CEO at Bayern Munich)