“The honorary captain of the German national team will have to be operated on later today,” Hamburg said on its website Friday. “The whole club wishes Uwe all the best as well as a speedy recovery.”
Regarded as one of Germany’s best ever players, Seeler was famous for his overhead kicks and ability to score goals from the unlikeliest of angles. He was also known for his humility and fairness, and respected for his never wavering loyalty to his hometown club, Hamburg.
“While I was at four World Cups, I’d have liked to have won the title once. I didn’t have the luck,” Seeler said. “Still, everything was wonderful. I regret nothing.”
Seeler was voted German soccer player of the year in 1960, 1964 and 1970.
He received offers from clubs in Spain and Italy, most notably a huge offer from Inter Milan in 1961, but opted to stay with Hamburg.
Seeler won the German championship in 1960 and German Cup in 1963 with the club, but also endured heartbreak with near misses in the European Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup. Hamburg lost to Barcelona in the European Cup semifinals in 1961 and to AC Milan in the Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1968.
Seeler has been married to his wife Ilka for more than 60 years. They have three daughters. His grandson, Levin Öztunali, plays for Bundesliga side Mainz.
Seeler’s older brother Dieter also played for Hamburg. Their father Erwin worked on a barge in Hamburg’s port and was also known for playing soccer in the city.
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