Soccer: German legend Lothar Matthaus heading for Netanya

In interview with German tabloid Bild Matthaus confirmed he has been in negotiations with Netanya owner Daniel Jammer.

lothar matthaus 88 (photo credit: )
lothar matthaus 88
(photo credit: )
All signs point to German coach and soccer legend, Lothar Matthaus, joining Maccabi Netanya next season. Matthaus, out of coaching since leaving his position at Red Bull Salzburg last July, is now eyeing a return to the game. "I will take over as coach at a club in July," he recently told Germany's DSF television. Whether or not that club will be Netanya is still up in the air. In an interview with German tabloid Bild over the weekend, Matthaus confirmed suspicion that he has been in negotiations with Netanya's owner, and fellow German, Daniel Jammer. "We are negotiating, but nothing has been decided. We will meet again in mid-April and we will see how things go. I like the idea of coaching in Israel," the 47-year-old Matthaus told Bild. Netanya officials initially denied any interest in replacing current coach Reuven Atar, claiming that there is no validity to any rumors that Matthaus is being pursued by the club. But this week a club spokesman refused to comment officially on the issue, while sources have said he is likely to arrive in Israel for talks in the coming weeks. After a period without success, Netanya has transformed itself into the second-best team in Israel since it was bought by Jammer in the summer of 2006. Although the club is currently second in the Israeli Premier League behind Betar Jerusalem and finished second last season, Jammer is believed to be looking to bring a big name coach to the club to attract top class players next season. Matthaus is Germany's most capped player, having played for his national team a record 150 times from 1980-2000. A former World Soccer Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year he helped his country win the 1980 European Championships and 1990 World Cup. Since hanging up his boots in 2001 he has had several stints coaching, although each ended relatively quickly. In addition to his work for Salzburg, he coached Austria's Rapid Vienna, Serbia's Partizan Belgrade and, Brazil's Atletico Paranaense. Netanya took the Israeli championship five times between 1970 and 1983, but has won none since. Bringing on Matthaus would give Netanya a household name and one of the winningest players of all time at the helm. "Netanya is a very ambitious club," added the former Bayern Munich playmaker in his interview with Bild. Should Jammer follow through on these rumors and bring Matthaus on board, he world prove that his Netanya club is very ambitious, indeed.