By Min Yea-Ji and Kim Hwaya
Former national men’s soccer coach and German pro league legend Cha Bum-kun will receive the Federal Cross of Merit from the German government, the German Embassy in Seoul said on Nov. 5.
“The president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has bestowed upon Cha Bum-kun the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his contributions to the development of Korean-German relations,” the embassy said.
Open to both Germans and non-Germans in the fields of politics, economics and society, the honor is the highest from the German government for those performing distinguished service to advance the public interest. German Ambassador to Korea Stephan Auer will give Cha the award.
Debuting in 1978 and earning the nickname “Cha-boom,” Cha was the first Korean player in Germany’s pro league Bundesliga, joining SV Darmstadt 98 and later playing for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. Playing in 308 games and retiring in 1989, he became a star in Europe in scoring 98 goals and winning the UEFA Cup twice and the German Cup once.