8 Feb 2016

Lutz Pfannenstiel - The wandering goalie

From Waitangi Day 2019, 10:35 am on 8 February 2016

Lutz Pfannenstiel has played for more football clubs in more countries - including New Zealand - than any other professional player. He was nearly killed on the pitch in England, jailed for match-fixing in Singapore - and busted for pinching a penguin from the Otago Peninsula. Now he's works for a top German club and campiagns for sustainability. Perhaps he should have stayed home in Germany?

Lutz Pfannenstiel was 18 when he decided to leave Germany to play as a professional goalie overseas, even though ginat club Bayern Munich offered him a deal. Looking for a break, he chose Malaysia - not exactly a hotbed of world football.

Then he went to the US and Brazil, and England where he nearly died on the pitch once. Then he pitched up in South Africa, Finland, Belgium and Singapore, where he was jailed for matchfixing.

That didn't stop his globetrotting.

Nomadic soccer goalie Lutz Pfannenstiel.

Nomadic soccer goalie Lutz Pfannenstiel. Photo: Supplied

He rebuilt his life and career in New Zealand in the 2000's  - with one hiccup when he "borrowed" an Otago peninsula penguin. The he left for Canada, Namibia, Norway, Armenia and Albania - and other places. 

When Lutz  finally retired, he'd played for 25 clubs in 15 countries spread across five continents - the only player ever to manage that as a professional. There's now talk of his extraordinary life becoming a movie.

Lutz is now international relations manager for top-grade German side Hoffenheim, and he also runs a charity using footballers to spread the word on sustainability. Perhaps he should have stayed in Germany all along?