World champion Benedikt Höwedes talks to t-online.de about the problems of a young football player, the current German national team, and explains which Sthe money factor plays in his life.
He is a bit different from many of his colleagues: Benedikt Höwedes, formerly captain of the Schalke in the Bundesliga and now playing for Lok Moscow, listens to political podcasts, buys a car that quickly embarrasses him, he calls himself " to the knee "in dealing with his money – while he earned as much as a professional, who probably will never have to worry about his finances. The thoughts of one of our heroes of the 2014 World Cup.
t-online.de: Mr. Höwedes, Currently they play football abroad. How do you keep up to date with your country of origin Germany?
Benedict Höwedes (30): I like listening to the podcast "Location of the Nation". Topics from Germany are discussed, analyzed and commented each week. I find it very refreshing. Finally, it was the discussion triggered by the SPD discussion on the minimum pension.
As a professional footballer you do not have to worry about topics like the minimum pension. How important is the money factor in life?
As a human, I would not be different if I had not become a professional footballer and earned less – I'm pretty sure. But I also know that money can change people. But I manage my money well and sometimes even "on my knees".
What do you mean exactly by "knee joint"?
I would never play for money. Because I can not stand it when you throw it out the window. This has always been my motto as a professional footballer, even if I tried one or two things in the past.
What did you try for?
As a young Schalke professional, there was a time when, retrospectively, I found a turning point in my dealings with money. At that time, I had bought an 'Audi S5 from my first salary and then I rebuilt the car. But after a week, the car was so embarrassing that I no longer drove it. I thought: it's not me. What should you do? Why do you have to buy a car like that? You do not need it, it's useless.
In 2011, Höwedes (with then teammate Christoph Metzelder) won the DFB Cup with Schalke. (Source: Team 2 / imago)
What did you learn from this?
With the money you can do a lot, but above all you can also do a lot of nonsense. It makes many things easier, but money definitely does not make you happy. Of course, it's always easy to say, if you have a little more in the bill. Many people have to flip every penny and are very concerned with how it goes on financially. And that's why I absolutely appreciate what the privileged situation I am.
Let's be honest: what do you think, why did you want to buy a luxury car then?
I let myself bite. I was young and I saw what was happening in the Bundesliga: everyone is wearing expensive watches and driving luxury cars. When I was young, I did not want to be there as a total outsider. I let myself be tempted. Fortunately, I immediately realized that this is not my world. I've never bought an expensive watch. Material things are not important to me. After all, people are not better just because they drive expensive cars and wear sparkling watches.
At the beginning of your professional career, you also made your maturity. Why was this second track so important to you?
My father advised me. A football career may have ended quickly due to injury, he always said. It was pure stress then. Train with professionals and school.
Can you still remember the most difficult moment in this moment of double burden?
The highlight was when I was 18 with Schalke for the knockout round of the Champions League in Barcelona should fly. The next day was an LK math exam. I went to my coach Mirko Slomka and told him I could not come to Barcelona.
Debut: On 3 October 2007 Höwedes played for the first time for Schalke professionals – in the Champions League against Trondheim. (Source: Digitalport / imago)
Do you miss this experience?
Not exactly. Slomka absolutely wanted me to come. So I came too. But the night after the game I was taken back to Germany by a private plane from Clemens Tönnies of Barcelona and I wrote the math exam in the morning. There were two colliding worlds. In the evening you are next to Ronaldinho, Henry and Messi at Camp Nou, the next morning you are sitting in class hoping to get the math exam.
They were world champions in 2014 with the national team and at the latest with this title to the celebrity in Germany. What does a person do when he is constantly observed?
This can change people. And it's a strange feeling. The more you are famous, the more people look at you. What are you doing? What does it eat? Who does it depend on? Social media is increasing more and more. Everything can be photographed and filmed.
What is the impact?
Players are trying to isolate themselves more and more. In the past, the boys went to the pub, stood at the counter and drank a beer and smoked a cigarette. It was not a problem. The fans just arrived at the bar and started. Today it is no longer possible. Football professionals are becoming increasingly disconnected and have nothing more to do with the normal world.
How do football stars live today?
They are with one another. Since they have more peace, because you will not be with your eyes. However, I find it quite dangerous, because at a certain point the time comes when you have to go back to normal life. At the latest with the end of the career.
Especially for young players, it is certainly difficult to be under constant observation.
Every false step becomes a scandal. And that's exactly what you want to avoid, of course. Especially at the beginning of a career. That's why today only fifteen to fifteen interviews remain, so no player with corners and corners is ever there. No professional wants to attract attention.
Höwedes (right here, in 2017 against the Italian Real Estate) has completed a total of 44 internationals for Germany. (Source: DeFodi / imago)
Do you also follow the DFB team games?
Your impression of the current team?
The national team is still well positioned. But I have reservations when it comes to the future. Talents in Germany are late in international comparison. After Süle, Sané and Goretzka we have a small hole, Havertz is the exception. The subsequent vintages individually have a lot to recover. But: despite the failed World Cup, the national team is back on the road to success. I am sure.