Gunter Netzer, the brilliant West German soccer star brought by Real Madrid for GBP 245,000 (U.
Gunter Netzer, the brilliant West German soccer star brought by Real Madrid for GBP 245,000 (U.S. $600,000) in the close-season, helped his new club to a League victory over Murcia on Saturday (15 September). The success helped gloss over his stormy beginning in Spain, since his surprise transfer from Borussia Munchengladbach in June. Netzer has been reported to have shocked the Real Madrid manager by his Bohemian life-style, and to have disappointed the fans by missing a penalty in his first League match in Spain.
But in Saturday's home fixture (at Bernabeu Stadium), the German's stream of flowing passes from midfield out to both wings put the Murcia defence under heavy pressure. Eventually, the visitors were forced in the second half to concede the only goal of the match, scored by Oscar Mas, the Argentinean outside-left. Netzer will be required to produce the same form on Wednesday, when Madrid go to Ipswich in England for a European competition tie in the UEFA Cup.
Netzer has been described as one of the few players in the world who can attract thousands to a stadium just to watch him play. His move to Madrid coincided with the transfer to Barcelona of Dutch superstar, Johan Cruyff, so Spanish fans will have plenty to watch this winter, provided, that is, that both settles down well.
There is no indication yet as to whether Netzer will be available for the West German national side in the 1974 Munich World Cup. There have been reports of differences between the star and the team manager. But there is little doubt of West Germany's need for Netzer. They have been a far less effective force without him.