DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga is bolstering its Bundesliga Legends Network with the signing of some of the most recognisable names in world football.
Philipp Lahm, Jürgen Klinsmann, Claudio Pizarro, Zé Roberto, Makoto Hasebe and Chen Yang have joined the Bundesliga Legends Network as the league continues to drive global awareness through regular and direct contact with fans all over the world.
The Bundesliga Legends Network was launched in 2017, with former players such as Lothar Matthäus and Jay-Jay Okocha taking on an ambassadorial role and engaging with fans in a number of events worldwide. From Bundesliga Experiences and Meisterschale Trophy Tours to offering expert analysis for international broadcasters and media, the Bundesliga Legends Network provides regular fundamental touchpoints for highly engaged supporters who, wherever they are in the world, replicate the passion and commitment that comes from the clubs' unique fanbases throughout Germany.
Jürgen Klinsmann said: "The Bundesliga is renowned globally - it is not just the stars and the number of goals, but the whole atmosphere of German football that sets it apart. I am proud to represent the league as a Bundesliga Legend and look forward to meeting more Bundesliga fans."
Claudio Pizarro added: "When I arrived in Germany, it was obvious straightaway that this league was different. The fan culture, the clubs, these guys live and breathe football! But that is also spreading and you see the same excitement and commitment around the world. It will be great to introduce more football fans to the Bundesliga in the coming years!"
Fan research concluded that the Bundesliga is the fastest growing league in the world, based on awareness, interest and being the first-choice football league that fans turn to, and the latest additions to the Bundesliga Legends Network aim to further strengthen this position.
A leader for both club and country, Philipp Lahm was the living embodiment of FC Bayern München. After coming through the youth academy, the Munich-born fullback went on to win eight league titles and six DFB Pokals, as well as the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Club Cup. On international duty, Lahm captained the German national team to success in 2014, cementing his position as a true German great.
Considered one of the most prolific strikers in Bundesliga history, Jürgen Klinsmann is a world, European and Bundesliga champion. Recognised around the world as a player, coach and pundit, Klinsmann made 221 appearances in the Bundesliga, averaging a goal every two games.
Claudio Pizarro is the most successful striker to come from Latin America that the Bundesliga has ever seen. His time with SV Werder Bremen, FC Bayern München and 1. FC Köln resulted in a total of 197 Bundesliga goals, alongside six German titles, six DFB Pokals and a UEFA Champions League winner's medal.
After more than 10 years and 300 Bundesliga appearances, former Brazil international Zé Roberto won the league and cup double four times during his first spell with FC Bayern München, whilst also representing Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hamburger SV.
The only Legend that is still playing, Makoto Hasebe holds the record for most appearances by an Asian player in a European league. Having won the Meisterschale with VfL Wolfsburg, the Japanese international went on to play for 1. FC Nuremberg and Eintracht Frankfurt where he won the DFB Pokal. Hasebe is currently the oldest player in the Bundesliga and will lead the Eagles as they return to Europe this season.
As the first Chinese player to play and score in the Bundesliga, Chen Yang was a trailblazer, being crowned Chinese Player of the Year during his time at Eintracht Frankfurt. Yang later represented FC St Pauli, totalling more than 100 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 appearances for the two clubs.