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Matthaeus hopes to one day coach Germany

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, Apr 26 (Reuters) Lothar Matthaeus today said he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his mentor Franz Beckenbauer and coach Germany, although for now he is looking no further than club management.

In an interview with Reuters, Germany's most capped player, who was captain of the West Germany team under Beckenbauer which won the 1990 World Cup, also said he was honoured to be the patron of a new honour at this year's finals, the Gillette Young Player award.

''Yes, obviously it would be great to get the chance to coach Germany one day,'' said Matthaeus, who retired as a player five years ago and has since coached Hungary, Rapid Vienna, Partizan Belgrade and Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense.

However Matthaeus, who like Beckenbauer also played at Bayern Munich before moving to a New York club for a spell in the twilight of his career, said he could never duplicate the achievements of the man known as the ''Kaiser''.

''I couldn't begin to compare myself to Franz Beckenbauer,'' Matthaeus, 45, said in a telephone interview. ''He's so far above all of us. But we do have some things in common and have remained close friends.

''We were both at Bayern Munich, played in New York, were both captains of Germany teams, have lots of children and several wives,'' he said.

''But Franz lives on another level far above everyone else.

I'm happy and proud to be a close friend.'' Matthaeus, who will work as a television analyst during the World Cup, said he expects to coach again after the tournament.

He was among the candidates for the Germany job in 2004 before Juergen Klinsmann was picked.

''I'll definitely be working again and will be ready for a coaching job after the World Cup,'' he said. ''I enjoy coaching.

I'd prefer to work at a club again where you can have an impact every day on the players.'' He said there had been ''some knocking on the door'' but no concrete offers yet.

NEW AWARD Matthaeus, who at the age of 19 helped West Germany win the European Championship in 1980, said he wished the new award for best young player had been around when he played.

He made his World Cup debut at the age of 21 in 1982 in Spain and had 150 caps and 23 goals by the time he retired as an international in 2000. He had a record 25 World Cup caps in joint-record five tournaments: 1982, 86, 90, 94 and 98.

''It would have been great if there had been such an award back then,'' said Matthaeus of the honour to be awarded to the best player aged 21 or under at this year's World Cup.

''It's a new competition but it can turn out to be an important award because it will honour players who are not necessarily in the limelight. I think it's a great idea.'' The World Cup finals, which begin on June 9 in Munich, offers a number of other individual awards to players, including the Golden Shoe for the tournament's top scorer, the Golden Ball for the best player and the Yashin Award, named in honour of the late Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin, for best keeper.

Reuters SHB BST2303

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