Angered by an apparent mix-up over commentary of a Champions League football match, the football great, who captained West Germany when it won the World Cup in 1990, vented his fury at three unruffled presenters in the network’s studio.
Matthäus – nicknamed ‘Loddar’ as a slang pronunciation of his name – then got on the phone and abused the organiser of the program, all of which was captured by the studio cameras.
“What he explain me? I lose all my evening,” he said, using English that was mocked mercilessly by the German press.
“I stay only in Munich for this fucking job tonight. Sorry. I come down. Sorry. You give me nothing. You think you can play with me? I’m not a child. I respect you lot. You don’t respect me now this moment.
“Okay? Finish. It’s okay. Sorry. Hallo? My friend? I like to explain you something. I change my plane to make a favour to Al Jazeera, for Mr Nasser.”
German media was less interested in the rant than in his comical speech. Daily Bild declared the footballer had invented his own language: “Loddar Englisch.”
Der Westen newspaper simply asked: “Do you speak Loddar?”
Hamburger Abendblatt noted: “Lothar Matthäus has done it again … he has spoken English.”
Matthäus has been a regular match analyst for the Arabic network. He later told Bild that the argument had arisen because Al Jazeera had only organised one translator. The translator was already assigned to Italian former player Alessandro Altobelli, who was also doing a match analysis.
Ten minutes before the match – the Champions League final 16 match between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan on March 15 – was due to start, Matthäus was told he was no longer needed.
Matthäus is national coach of Bulgaria’s team, but is now better know in Germany for his rocky love life. The former midfielder, now 50, won many awards including FIFA World Player of the Year. Maradona described him as “he is the best rival I’ve ever had.”