|Full name||Matthias Sindelar|
|Date of birth||10 February 1903|
|Place of birth||Kozlov, Austria-Hungary|
|Date of death||23 January 1939(aged 35)|
|Place of death||Vienna, Nazi Germany|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|1918–1924||ASV Hertha Vienna|
|1924–1939||FK Austria Vienna|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Matthias Sindelar (10 February 1903 – 23 January 1939) was an Austrian footballer.
Known as "The Mozart of football" or Der Papierene – 'The Paper Man' for his slight build, he was renowned as one of the finest pre-war footballers, known for his fantastic dribbling ability and creativity.
He was voted the best Austrian footballer of the 20th Century in a 1999 poll by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) and was named Austria's sportsman of the century a year before.
Of Czech descent, Sindelar was born Matěj Šindelář in Kozlov, Moravia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Jan Šindelář, a blacksmith, and his wife Marie (née Švengrová). Despite occasional claims that Sindelar was of Jewish origin, the family was Catholic. They moved to Vienna in 1905 and settled in the district of Favoriten, which had a large Czech-speaking community. Young Matěj/Matthias began playing football in the streets of Vienna.
Club career (1918-1939)
At the age of 15, the Sindelar joined Hertha Vienna, playing there until 1924, when he was brought to FK Austria Vienna, whose name at the time was Wiener Amateur-SV, up to 1926. He helped the team win the Austrian Cup in 1925, 1926, 1933, 1935 and 1936, a league title in 1926, and the Mitropa Cup in 1933 and 1936.
In 2001, Sindelar was chosen in Austria's Team of the Century.
Sindelar was arguably one of Europe's best and, in scope, most influential footballers of his generation, recognized for his ball control, passing and dribbling, and especially his creativity. Anecdote has it that some Viennese football fans went to Sindelar's games not only to see him play but to get a better understanding of how football should be played.
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Austria national team
He scored four goals in his first three international matches, including one in his debut match, a 2-1 victory over Czechoslovakia on 28 September 1926.
He made his international debut in 1926 and played well before falling out of favour with the disciplinarian Meisl. Four years in the international wilderness followed until Meisl was cornered by a gathering of the city's leading football commentators as he sat in the Ring Café in 1931. Everyone was arguing for Sindelar's recall and Meisl changed his mind. Sindelar played. Scotland were beaten and the Wunderteam - already disciplined, organized, hardworking and professional - acquired their playmaker and inspiration, that vital spark of unpredictability.
1934 World Cup
Sindelar and Austria were especially prominent at the 1934 World Cup.
The high point was their defeat of Hungary in quarterfinals, when Sindelar was matched up against centre-half György Sárosi, who would go on to claim a runners-up medal at the following World Cup in France. In a bruising encounter, one Hungarian was sent-off, and Johann Horvath, the Austrian midfielder, was injured and missed the semi-final against Italy.
Austria then suffered a controversial defeat to the host nation, with Sindelar affected by the harsh marking of Luis Monti.
Austria v Germany 1938
On 3 April 1938, the Austrian team played Germany in the Prater Stadium in Vienna its last match as an independent Austrian team, as some weeks earlier, Germany had annexed Austria (Anschluss) and the Nazis ordered the dissolution of the Austrian team into a common team with Germany, albeit it had qualified for the 1938 FIFA World Cup.
The match (German: "Anschlussspiel") was dubbed as a game for celebrating the Anschluss and Austria's "coming home to the Reich". The Austrians played on the wish of Sindelar in red-white-red kits (the national flags colours) instead of their traditional white and black. Austria missed out many sitters in a way it looked deliberate. However, in the last 20 minutes, Sindelar and team-mate Karl Sesta both scored as the game finished 2-0. Sindelar is reported to have celebrated extravagantly in front of senior Nazi dignitaries.
International caps and goals
|Cap #||Date||Location||Type of
|1.||28 Sep 1926||Prague||Friendly||2-1||Czechoslovakia||90||1|
|2.||10 Oct 1926||Vienna||Friendly||7-1||Switzerland||90||2|
|3.||7 Nov 1926||Vienna||Friendly||3-1||Sweden||90||1|
|4.||20 Mar 1927||Vienna||Friendly||1-2||Czechoslovakia||90||0|
|5.||10 Apr 1927||Vienna||Friendly||6-0||Hungary||48||0|||
|6.||6 May 1928||Vienna||Friendly||3-0||Yugoslavia||90||0|||
|7.||28 Oct 1928||Vienna||Dr. Gerö Cup||2-0||Switzerland||90||0|
|8.||23 Mar 1930||Prague||Friendly||2-2||Czechoslovakia||90||0|
|9.||16 May 1931||Vienna||Friendly||5-0||Scotland||90||1|
|10.||24 May 1931||Berlin||Friendly||6-0||Germany||90||0|
|11.||14 Sep 1931||Vienna||Friendly||5-0||Germany||90||3|
|12.||4 Oct 1931||Budapest||Dr. Gerö Cup||2-2||Hungary||90||0|
|13.||29 Nov 1931||Basel||Dr. Gerö Cup||8-1||Switzerland||90||1|
|14.||20 Mar 1932||Vienna||Dr. Gerö Cup||2-1||Italy||90||2|
|15.||24 Apr 1932||Vienna||Friendly||8-2||Hungary||90||3|||
|16.||22 May 1932||Prague||Dr. Gerö Cup||1-1||Czechoslovakia||90||1|
|17.||17 Jul 1932||Stockholm||Friendly||4-3||Sweden||90||1|
|18.||2 Oct 1932||Budapest||Friendly||3-2||Hungary||90||0|
|19.||23 Oct 1932||Vienna||Dr.GeröCup||3-1||Switzerland||90||0|
|20.||7 Dec 1932||London||Friendly||3-4||England||90||1|
|21.||12 Feb 1933||Paris||Friendly||4-0||France||90||1|
|22.||9 April 1933||Vienna||Friendly||1-2||Czechoslovakia||90||0|
|23.||30 Apr 1933||Budapest||Friendly||1-1||Hungary||90||0|
|24.||11 Jun 1933||Vienna||Friendly||4-1||Belgium||90||1|
|25.||17 Sep 1933||Prague||Friendly||3-3||Czechoslovakia||90||2|
|26.||1 Oct 1933||Vienna||Friendly||2-2||Hungary||90||0|
|27.||29 Nov 1933||Glasgow||Friendly||2-2||Scotland||90||0|
|28.||10 Dec 1933||Amsterdam||Friendly||1-0||Netherlands||90||0|
|29.||15 Apr 1934||Vienna||Friendly||5-2||Hungary||90||0|
|30.||25 Apr 1934||Vienna||World Cup qualification||6-1||Bulgaria||90||1|
|31.||27 May 1934||Turin||World Cup||3-2||France||120||1|
|32.||31 May 1934||Bologna||World Cup||2-1||Hungary||90||0|
|33.||3 Jun 1934||Milan||World Cup||0-1||Italy||90||0|
|34.||23 Sep 1934||Vienna||Dr. Gerö Cup||2-2||Czechoslovakia||90||0|
|35.||7 Oct, 1934||Budapest||Dr.Gerö Cup||1-3||Hungary||90||0|
|36.||24 Mar 1935||Vienna||Dr. Gerö Cup||0-2||Italy||90||0|
|37.||6 May 1936||Vienna||Friendly||2-1||England||90||0|
|38.||17 May 1936||Rome||Friendly||2-2||Italy||90||0|
|39.||27 Sep 1936||Budapest||Dr. Gerö Cup||3-5||Hungary||90||2|
|40.||21 Mar 1937||Vienna||Dr. Gerö Cup||2-0||Italy||73||0|||
|41.||9 May 1937||Vienna||Friendly||1-1||Scotland||90||0|
|42.||23 May 1937||Budapest||Friendly||2-2||Hungary||90||0|
|43.||19 Sep 1937||Vienna||Dr. Gerö Cup||4-3||Switzerland||90||1|
|==||3 Apr 1938||Vienna||Friendly||2-0||Germany||90||1|||
In the 43 matches that Sindelar played, Austria had a total record of 25 victories, 11 draws, and 7 losses.
- Austrian Football Association. "Statistics of matches of the Austria national team (September 1923 – April 1934)" (PDF). www.oefb.at. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
- Austrian Football Association. "Statistics of matches of the Austria national team (April 1934 – May 1952)" (PDF). www.oefb.at. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
- Kutschera, Ambrosius. "Statistik Österreichischer länderspiele". austriasoccer.at. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
Death and myth
Always refusing to leave his home country, Sindelar rejected to play for Germany after the Austrian state was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938 (Anschluss), citing old age or injury as his excuse.
Austrian writer Friedrich Torberg later dedicated the poem "Auf den Tod eines Fußballspielers" ("On the death of a footballer") to Sindelar. The poem suggested that he had committed suicide as a result of the German Anschluss of Austria in 1938. On the other hand, it has been thought and reported that his death was accidental, caused by a defective chimney. However, in a 2000s documentary screened on the BBC, Egon Ulbrich, a lifelong friend of Sindelar, stated that a local official was bribed to record his death as an accident, which ensured that he would receive a state funeral. "According to the Nazi rules, a person who had been murdered or who has committed suicide cannot be given a grave of honour. So we had to do something to ensure that the criminal element involved in his death was removed," he stated. It has also been suggested that Sindelar was killed for his opposition for the Anschluss. The Nazi secret police force, the notorious Gestapo, had a file on him and had kept his café under surveillance.
Sindelar was ranked as Austria's best footballer of the twentieth century by the IFFHS, also ranking as the world's 22nd best. His career titles include:
- 1× Austrian football championship: 1926
- 5× Austrian Cup: 1925, 1926, 1933, 1935, 1936
- 2× Mitropa Cup: 1933, 1936
- 1× Central European International Cup: 1932
- Some sources, including the RSSSF (Austria - Record International Players), list 26 goals in 43 matches. Other sources say he appeared in 44 matches or scored 27 goals.
- The Paper Man: life and death of a footballer The Guardian
- Stokkermans, Karel / RSSSF. "IFFHS' Century Elections". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
- Bardelli, Gino / trivela.com. "Sindelar: O craque que não se curvou ao Nazismo" (in Portuguese). Trivela.com. Retrieved 11 April 2007. Archived 8 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Austria's greatest". The Football Association. 2 September 2004. Retrieved 27 December 2010.[dead link]
- Wilson, Jonathan (3 April 2007). "Sindelar: the ballad of the tragic hero". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
There have been suggestions that Sindelar and/or Castignola were Jewish. It is true that Sindelar played for Austria Vienna, the club of the Jewish bourgeoisie, and came from Moravia, from where several Jews had migrated to Vienna, but his family was Catholic.
- Hesse-Lichtenberger, Ulrich (2003). Tor!: The Story of German Football. London: WSC Books. p. 83. ISBN 978-0954013455.
Despite reports to the contrary, neither Sindelar nor the woman he would soon begin a fatal affair with were of Jewish heritage.
- According to http://www.austriasoccer.at/LSP/Datenbank/lstat9.htm, http://www.austriasoccer.at/LSP/Datenbank/lstat7.htm (data matches the statistical archives of the Austrian Football Association: Länderspiele von September 1923 – April 1934 and Länderspiele von April 1934 – Mai 1952) and the RSSSF page Austria – Record International Players. Other sources say he appeared in 44 matches or scored 27 goals.
- David Goldblatt, The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer (Penguin, 2008; ISBN 1101097671), p. 257.
- Der Papierene
- Matthias Sindelar - International Goals. RSSSF
- Entered game as substitute (42')
- Austria played two matches on 6- 5-1928, vs. Hungary and vs. Yugoslavia: both matches are considered official for Austria but Yugoslavia did not recognise its match vs. Austria as official.
- Scored the first 3 of Austria's goals; second international hat-trick in eight months.
- Match suspended at the 73rd minute. Not considered official by the Italian Football Federation. Sources: http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/unb-italy-19.html (see note ); http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/ital-recintlp.html (see NB); http://www.austriasoccer.at/LSP/1930_39/1937/s1937_02.htm
- The celebratory match played between Austria (as Ostmark) and Germany (as Altreich) in the Praterstadion after the Anschluß is not official match for either team.
- The 'Paper Man' mystery. ESPNFC.com
- Hesse-Lichtenberger, Uli / ESPNsoccernet.com. "The 'Paper Man' mystery". ESPN. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
- news.bbc.co.uk (22 September 2003). "Football, fascism and England's Nazi salute". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
- John Ashdown (22 April 2014). "World Cup: 25 stunning moments … No11: Austria's Wunderteam go close". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2014.