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Football: A fitting exit for a nonconformist

In any case, the “Frankfurter Rundschau” paid tribute to Hinteregger for his decision: “It is an extraordinary step, but it fits this lovingly unique piece, which is difficult to grasp, which has its own mind and does not fit into any template. Not in drawers at all. ‘Hinti’ is a gut person, and when he feels that it’s no longer possible, then it’s no longer possible. end, off. It is a courageous decision that deserves respect and admiration.” The “Bild” wrote about problems that were piling up. “His way of life displeased those responsible for a long time,” wrote the newspaper.

Apparently it was never easy with Hinteregger. From his home town of Sirnitz, the young Carinthian was drawn to the Salzburg Academy at the age of 14. He made his first appearances in the Bundesliga under Huub Stevens, where he made his debut in autumn 2010. The defender shouldn’t just celebrate a title with Salzburg: three champions, three cup winners – but also a dispute. After losing again in the qualification for the Champions League in 2015, Hinteregger publicly criticized the team. Coach Peter Zeidler was not pleased.

Hinteregger draws the line

Martin Hinteregger surprisingly announced the end of his career on Thursday. He asked his employer Eintracht Frankfurt to terminate his contract.

The following winter, as a solution to the simmering conflict, he was loaned to Mönchengladbach, and the following summer Hinteregger finally said goodbye to Germany: Augsburg brought the central defender, who apparently categorically ruled out a transfer to RB Leipzig. A few weeks later, Hinteregger explained that he was “angered at Leipzig because Salzburg was going to pieces”. He rarely minced his words.

GEPA/Felix Roittner

Even at the beginning of his career at Red Bull Salzburg, Martin Hinteregger was open about his opinion

The “Hinti Army” in Frankfurt

This did not go unnoticed in Augsburg either. There were differences of opinion with coach Manuel Baum. “I can’t say anything positive, but also nothing negative about the coach,” said Hinteregger about the coach who put him on the sidelines. Eintracht Frankfurt under coach Adi Hütter struck a loan contract in winter 2019.

In Frankfurt he became the darling of the public. Pictures of “Hinti” with a crate of beer on the way to the dressing room generated sympathy points. “We’re Hinti Army now” sang the Eintracht fans in honor of the Austrian. Hinteregger had to return to Augsburg in the summer. This was followed by a cell phone video of the apparently no longer completely sober professional on an evening excursion during the training camp in Bad Häring (Tyrol). After a tough struggle, Eintracht got Hinteregger quickly.

Martin Hinteregger cheers with Frankfurt fans

APA/AFP/Lluis Gene

Martin Hinteregger had a very good standing with the Frankfurt fans

Exuberant birthday party in the ÖFB team camp

Shortly thereafter, Austria’s team manager at the time, Franco Foda, also made the acquaintance of a celebrating Hinteregger. At a celebration for his 27th birthday, he went far beyond the curfew. As a result, Hinteregger was denied the trip to the European Championship qualifier in Poland the following day. “I celebrated my birthday at a bad time,” he later said. But under Foda he remained a regular.

As in the disappointing finals in 2016, Hinteregger also made it to the 2021 European Championships with Austria’s selection, where they lost to Italy in the round of 16. He missed the games under neo-coach Ralf Rangnick due to injury. Hinteregger said he hadn’t seen any of them just a few days ago in the “Standard” interview.

At the end of his career, Hinteregger was accepted into the Legends Club of the ÖFB. Sports director Peter Schöttel thanked him for his performances in 67 international matches. “He’s a very individual guy with rough edges that many people and fans could identify with. His great footballing qualities have enriched and strengthened our team for many years. I wish him all the best in all areas of life after his career,” said Schöttel.

The media “want perfect professionals”

Most recently, Hinteregger made headlines with the cause of a public collaboration with Heinrich Sickl, who had rented premises in Graz to the right-wing extremist identities, in the background. At Eintracht, this was followed with interest. The debate then turned into a resignation on Thursday – the surprise was also great in Frankfurt.

It remains to be seen to what extent the latest chapter in his career will find its way into the book “Inside View” that he co-wrote. As a co-author, Hinteregger wrote about, among other things, how he was able to escape the threatening gambling addiction or how public pressure caused him to fall into a deep, black hole. There are anecdotes about why he spent a night in the elevator or how he slid down the stairs of a basement bar on a toboggan before a game against Bayern Munich.

Hinteregger’s football career was never boring. In the “Standard” he recently said about the media landscape: “They want perfect professionals like a Haaland and not those who step out of the machine. Those with corners and edges are no longer desired, although I would think it would be good if exactly that were encouraged.”

Profile of Martin Hinteregger

  • Born: St. Veit/Glan
  • Date of Birth: September 7, 1992
  • Height: 1.86 m
  • Position: centre-back
  • Current club: Eintracht Frankfurt (since winter 2019)
  • Career stations: Red Bull Salzburg (2006-2016), Borussia Mönchengladbach (2016/first half of the year on loan), FC Augsburg (2016-2019), Eintracht Frankfurt (at the end of January 2019, initially on loan from Augsburg, from August 2019 on a permanent basis until August 23. June 2022/early contract termination)
  • International debut: November 19, 2013 (1-0 in Vienna against USA)
  • Internationals: 67 (four goals), two European Championship appearances (2021 round of 16, 2016 group stage)
  • Greatest successes: Europa League winner 2022, Europa League semi-finalist 2019 (each with Frankfurt)
  • Title wins in Austria: Austrian Champion 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; Austrian cup winner 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 (all with Salzburg)
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