Legends: Uli Stielike


Uli Stielike wearing Real Madrid jersey
Uli Stielike

Uli Stielike was born on November 15, 1954 in Ketsch (Baden-Württemberg). As a child, in 1960, begins to play on the team SpVgg of his hometown, where he remained until 1973 when Hennes Weisweiler signs him for Borussia Mönchengladbach. While Uli plays for the team, Borussia was proclaimed three times champion of the German Bundesliga (1975 - 1977), won a German Cup (1973) and UEFA Cup (1975).

The signing of Uli Stielike was the last great contribution that Santiago Bernabeu made to the greatness of Real Madrid. Not surprisingly, the commitment of the President to sign Uli Stielike was the main reason he signed for the white team. However, Santiago Bernabeu and Agustin Dominguez, who was then general secretary of the club, traveled to Germany with the intention of signing another standout German, Wimmer, with the idea of replacing Paul Breitner, at that time playing for Real Madrid. Stielike was a midfielder and defender, whose game was characterized by impeccable placement and for their dedication and fighting spirit.

In 1977 he signed for Real Madrid, where he met with players such as Jose Antonio Camacho, Pirri, Gregorio Benito, Santillana and Juanito, among others. His start in the team was not easy, quite the opposite. First, because the coach, Miljan Miljanic, was replaced at the beggining of the season. Second, because his great supporter, Santiago Bernabeu, was hospitalized due to severe illness that led him to the death. Third, because the player (some called him "crystal player") missed the first five matches due to injury. Still, Uli Stielike had an important role in achieving the league title. Since his debut, took control of midfield, as well as scored a good number of goals, 13 in the 27 games he played, becoming the second scorer of the team. Santillana was the team top scorer.

The German player's first three seasons at Real Madrid were very successful. He won three consecutive Spanish league titles and a Cup (1980). But the European Cup, was an impossible trophy. The team played the final in Paris in 1981, against Liverpool, and was defeated 1-0 after extra time. With the eighties began a curse for the team that reached, of course, to Uli Stielike. In the 1980-81 season, they lost the league at the last second in favor of Real Sociedad.

Then, another disappointment in the following season, with title again for the Basque team, Real Sociedad, although this year Real Madrid won the Cup in Spain. The following season (1982-83), with Di Stefano as coach, team was runner-up in five competitions thay played. In 1985, after the arrival of Ramon Mendoza for the presidency of Real Madrid, and the addition of new players like Buyo, Maceda, Gordillo, Uli Stielike signed for Neuchatel. There he won league titles in 1987 and 1988. In this club he retired at the end of 1988.

With the German national team, Uli Stielike played a total of 42 games between 1975 and 1984, managing to win Euro 1980 and contesting the World Championship final in 1982 in Spain, losing the final 1-3 against Italy. He did not participate in the World Cup 1978 in Argentina, because the German federation did not summoned players who played out of the country. He was part of the squad managed by coach Jupp Derwall to play the Euro 1984 in France, that won the host country. He played the last game with the national team against Argentina in September 1984, in the first game of Franz Beckenbauer as coach.

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