Rainer Bonhof became the first FIFA World Cup winner from 1974 to sign the Wall of Champions on Wednesday 18 May 2016. Following in the footsteps of fellow German and all-time leading goal scorer at the World Cup Miroslav Klose, Bonhof visited the new home of football history with the Borussia Mönchengladbach squad. The 64-year-old is the club’s vice-president, and was in Zurich as part of their ‘Fohlentour 2016’ throughout Switzerland.
A world champion with West Germany, Bonhof was reunited with the FIFA World Cup Trophy and was able to hold it for a second time – nearly 42 years after the first on 7 July 1974 in the Olympiastadion, Munich. Not only was Bonhof part of the World Cup winning team that beat the Netherlands in the Final, but he also provided the assist for Gerd Müller’s winner as the Germans emerged 2-1 winners. When captain Franz Beckenbaur lifted the trophy afterwards, he became the first to do so – with a new trophy having been introduced for the tournament; the tenth World Cup.
“I am very proud to be the first world champion from 1974 to sign the Wall of Champions,” Bonhof explained in an interview with the FIFA World Football Museum.
“It was a great experience to touch the original trophy again. 42 years ago, I was able to carry it for half a round around the pitch in the stadium before it got too heavy for me. Back then I thought that I would never hold it in my hands again, but now I really had this amazing opportunity once more!”
Bonhof joins a growing list of World Cup winners that have signed the Wall of Champions at the museum, including current world champion Miroslav Klose (2014), two-time World Champion Cafu (1994, 2002) and his fellow Brazilian José Altafini (1958).