x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Hard work and talent is a winning recipe

My team: Bayern Munich - It is hard to fathom that my team, dubbed Hollywood FC, were not even part of the Bundesliga, when it was formed in 1963.

Owen Hargreaves joined Bayern when he was 16.
Owen Hargreaves joined Bayern when he was 16.

It is hard to fathom that my team, dubbed Hollywood FC because stories about our players fill almost as much space in the news pages as the sports section, were not even part of the Bundesliga, when it was formed in 1963. We have won the league a record 20 times and been crowned champions of Europe on four occasions. And though fans of other clubs will strongly disagree, FC Bayern are the national club side of Germany.

A lot of people love the team, those who don't, loathe us. We are on a pedestal and many want to see us fall off. This is the reason my love for Bayern grows game by game, year by year, from my first match at the Olympic Stadium more than 12 years ago, to the ultra-modern Allianz Arena, where the team now play.In my lifetime Bayern have won 10 titles, but my favourite memory is going to the San Siro to watch them win the Champions League, beating Valencia on penalties.

We have had many great players - from Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller in the 1970s, to the likes of Stefan Effenberg, Oliver Kahn and Jurgen Klinsmann (who is now our coach). My favourite remains Owen Hargreaves, who is now at Manchester United. He moved to Munich at the age of 16, could play almost anywhere and has continually battled injuries. He showed a real mental strength to move to a new country at such a young age, and overcome all that he has.

His actions represent many other players we have had. Hard work and talent made us successful and well known. * Olaf Perner