ARCHIV - 27.10.2021, Schleswig-Holstein, Norderstedt: Uwe Seeler, ehemaliger Fußballprofi beim Hamburger SV und Ehrenspielführer der Fußball Nationalmannschaft, lächelt bei einem Interview auf der Paul Hauenschild Sportanlage des HSV in Norderstedt bei Hamburg. In der Fußball-Bundesliga hat er 137 Tore für den HSV geschossen, für die Nationalmannschaft erzielte er in 72 Länderspielen 43 Treffer. Seeler starb am Donnerstag (21.07.2022) im Alter von 85 Jahren, wie sein früherer Verein Hamburger SV unter Berufung auf die Familie Seelers bestätigte. Foto: Christian Charisius/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Soccer legend Uwe Seeler is dead. The 72-time national player and DFB honorary captain died on Thursday at the age of 85, as his former club Hamburger SV confirmed, citing the Seelers family. First the “image” had reported about it.

Seeler was present at four World Cup tournaments, was runner-up in the 1966 World Cup in England and third in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. As one of the best center forwards of his time, he was a club icon for Hamburger SV, for which he played during his active career. From 1952 to 1973 “Uns Uwe” played for HSV and was a member of the German national team for 16 years. Because of his services to German football, he was named honorary captain of the national team.

He was the epitome of down-to-earthness, modesty, honesty and loyalty. The popularity of the former top scorer par excellence was not only based on his sporting fame with back-of-the-head goals and overhead kicks, but also on his human qualities. “The best thing in the world is to be normal,” said the bearer of the Great Federal Cross of Merit before his 85th birthday in November 2021. “I’m perfectly normal, and I like that.”

This included resisting an offer of millions from Inter Milan in 1961. Seeler preferred home and family. Despite all the sporting successes, one dream remained unfulfilled. “If I’ve been to four world championships, I would have liked to have won the title once. But I wasn’t lucky. Still, everything was beautiful. I don’t miss anything,” said Seeler.

His track record: more than 400 competitive goals for HSV, 72 international matches with 43 goals between 1954 and 1970, three times footballer of the year, German champion and cup winner.

He was married to his wife Ilka for more than 63 years. When “little mouse”, as Ilka Seeler affectionately called her husband, had taken on too much appointments, she was his corrective. Three daughters were born of their marriage. Her grandson Levin Öztunali is a fixture in the Bundesliga.

Germany’s first footballer of the year has recently struggled with health problems. Since a car accident in 2010, he has been deaf in his right ear and complained of balance problems. In addition, Seeler received a pacemaker and had to have a tumor in his shoulder removed.

He recently fell several times in his house in Norderstedt. He once fractured his right hip and three ribs. He was then fitted with an artificial hip joint. After that he had to use a walking stick. In a fall a few weeks earlier, he had broken a finger and torn his right shin.