Béla-Réthy farewell after 36 years: Sandro Wagner raves about the ZDF commentator
Created: 2022-12-14 2:51 p.m
By: Christoph Klaucke
After 36 years it's over.
ZDF commentator Béla Réthy puts the microphone aside after his last World Cup game.
Sandro Wagner accompanies him to say goodbye.
Al-Khor – The German national team has long been eliminated from the 2022 World Cup.
But one is still there: ZDF commentator Béla Réthy.
The 66-year-old is commenting on his last game on live television today (December 14) on his birthday.
Before leaving at the World Cup semifinals between France and Morocco, co-commentator Sandro Wagner recalls a great career as a reporter.
One has the feeling that the whole of football Germany is watching Qatar that evening – or rather, listening to the last words of an “absolute legend” whose voice has shaped entire generations of football fans in Germany for three decades.
born December 14, 1956 in Vienna
Languages: German, Hungarian, Portuguese, English, French, Spanish
1991: First live report on ZDF
Stop after the 2022 World Cup
Last game by Béla Réthy: ZDF commentator is supported by Sandro Wagner
Sandro Wagner will support Béla Réthy as a co-commentator on his last assignment for ZDF.
The ex-international will sit next to Réthy as he comments on his last game in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final between France and Morocco.
“Béla Réthy is an absolute legend.
I grew up with his voice and I don't even remember how many big games I watched in which he was the commentator," Wagner told the German Press Agency in Doha.
"He's an outstanding guy, not just on the microphone." Réthy has worked for ZDF at all football World Cups since 1986 and as a live reporter at all major tournaments since 1994. From 1996 to 2018 he commented on all the EM broadcast by the broadcaster - and World Cup finals.
ZDF reporter Béla Réthy comments on his last game at the World Cup semifinals.
© Christian Charisius/dpa
Béla-Réthy farewell after 36 years: Sandro Wagner raves about "absolute legend"
"It's something very special for me to be able to sit next to him in his last game.
German television will miss his voice,” said the 35-year-old Wagner.
Before the Béla-Réthy farewell, millions listened to a personal request to Sandro Wagner when ZDF colleague Oliver Schmidt spoke the moving closing words after France's victory over England: "Unequaled as a colleague and person, our Béla.
Be a charming dance partner for Béla's last dance."
Longtime commentator colleague Marcel Reif also paid tribute to Réthy.
"I will miss your voice when the ball rolls on TV," wrote the 73-year-old in the
“Out of respect and humility for the game and your clientele, you spoke like a normal person;
Probably also because you understood that despite all the ambition and vanity, it is not about proving that you could also train a district league team as a part-time reporter.”
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“I do it out of emotion – like everything”
A few hours before his farewell performance, "feelings would go merry-go-round," said Réthy in the
of ZDF on Wednesday.
"But I still have them all under control." He has not yet thought of certain closing words, says the 66-year-old.
“I do it out of emotion – like everything else.
Sometimes it works, sometimes not.”
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His most special game was possibly the 2002 World Cup final between Germany and Brazil (0:2), Réthy said.
On the one hand it was the duel of the "two World Cup giants".
Réthy also grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, among other places. Born in Vienna, he came to Germany with his Hungarian parents at the age of eleven.
That over there that looks like a toilet brush is Valderrama
Béla Réthy on the Colombian Valderrama
ZDF farewell after 36 years: Why doesn't Réthy comment anymore?
A "legend" for some, "unbearable" for others - Réthy always polarized, but continued on his way undeterred and remained true to himself.
Many German football fans grew up with his voice, now it's falling silent.
He once called the Colombian curly head Carlos Valderrama a toilet brush at the 1998 World Cup.
"That over there, what looks like a toilet brush, is Valderrama," said Réthy, who later openly regretted his statement.
"That would no longer be possible today and even back then it was borderline in terms of spontaneity."
Why doesn't Réthy comment anymore?
“I have built a certain distance from the business.
Football has gotten colder, emotions smaller,” said Réthy.
“I have more anticipation for what is to come.
I have a grandson in Berlin, Jonathan, I can see him growing up.
And I feel like having no appointments, laissez faire, not having to watch football anymore.
Maybe that hides the melancholy.”
Béla Réthy: Plans after the ZDF farewell are already in place
At the start of the 2022 World Cup, the fans freaked out because of ZDF commentator Béla Réthy: "Biggest reason not to watch the World Cup".
In the meantime, the 66-year-old should be one of the main reasons for many television viewers to turn on at all.
There will probably not be a resignation from the resignation, Réthy's plans after the ZDF farewell are already in place.