As you may know former longtime Germany and Bayern no. 1 Oliver Kahn had his testimonial exactly a week ago in Munich. The match, between Bayern and Germany, ended 1-1, but the score was less important than the man honored that night. His accomplishments are legion and well-known, including, perhaps most impressively, being the only goalkeeper to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball.

To commemorate his career Adidas released this video to coincide with that match. It is featured as part of its “Impossible is Nothing” series , but is produced in a much more serious tone (in keeping with Kahn’s character) than other “Impossible is Nothing” commercials. Nothing particularly new or shocking is revealed, it’s just a well-made tribute to one of the all-time greats.


For those of you not conversant in German (I imagine that’s why you’re here in the first place and not reading some fine piece of excellent sports journalism auf deutsch) I’ve provided a little transcript to go along with the video. So, in the words of the man himself:

I didn’t actually approach the ball the first time with my feet, but instead I picked it up right away. Yeah, something could come of me and the ball. Talent is a gift you’re given in life, but it’s useless if you’re not willing, in spite of everything, to work hard.

[Milan on May 23, 2001, the Champions League final. A penalty shootout is needed to settle the 1-1 stalemate. Amedeo Carboni, Valencia’s Italian left fullback, has the opportunity to put Valencia ahead 3-2…]

Kaaaahn! It’s not in! Unbelievable!

Becoming the national team goalkeeper was a marathon task for me. I only became the regular keeper in goal for the German national team at age 28 and by then others already quit playing soccer. I’ve always needed a long, long time in order to reach my goals. Success is what’s important to me. And for me that counts even more than, and I’ll say this in quotes, to be “sympathetic” or “immortal” or to be “the tragic hero”.

It was a long, long path and I always needed lots of perseverance. But that’s just how we are. Being a goalkeeper naturally also implies a bit of craziness.