What's In... Peter Schmeichel's Sony Xperia Z2
Published on Jul 4, 2014 5:00 AM
Peter Schmeichel may have made his name in football but he is more often to be found on a golf course these days.
Now 50 and retired from the beautiful game, the man voted the World's Best Goalkeeper in 1992 and 1993 by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics said: "I have no interest in playing football any more, so golf is a very good substitute. It's a game that will challenge you every time you hit the ball, as you have to account for various factors on the course. Most of my best friends are playing golf too, so there's a big social element to it as well."
Though he no longer plays football, it was his dream to do so when he was growing up. It was tougher to become a pro footballer then, he said.
"The mentality was that you couldn't make a living as a football player. But it was all I wanted to do, so I had to convince my parents, my teachers, everyone I came across."
A Manchester United ambassador, Schmeichel also represents other brands including Carlsberg. He is its global ambassador for the Uefa European Championship.
He said he was pleased with Manchester United's current line-up, but would like the club to sign certain players. "There's a few that would be a good fit. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one. I'd also like to see (Cristiano) Ronaldo back, but I don't think that's going to happen."
One of the high points in his remarkable career was the Danish team's victory in the 1992 UEFA European Football Championship. "For a small country such as Denmark, that's completely unheard of and it hasn't happened since," he said.
He was part of the Manchester United team that won the treble in the 1998-1999 season. Under former manager Alex Ferguson, the team not only topped the English Premier League, but also took the FA Cup and the Uefa Champions League trophy.
Schmeichel said of Sir Alex: "My relationship with him is still very good. We won the Champions League together and we have a lot of mutual respect from working together for many years."
Although he has played for other teams, including Aston Villa and Manchester City, when he speaks of Manchester United, he says "we".
Of its newly appointed manager, Louis van Gaal, he was cautiously optimistic. "It's gonna be interesting to see if he can steer the ship and bring us back to where we want to be. I think he's got all the credentials - at the very least, he's got experience and direction, which is important," he said.
Fans can now catch him in action on BBC's Match of the Day and Sky Sports as a football analyst.
Once in a while, he also appears at events. In Denmark, he hosts TV programmes.
He travels constantly for work but says he does not mind it.
"The jobs I get are very exciting and I get to meet people from around the world. I want to keep doing that for a long time."
In parting, he had this advice for aspiring goalkeepers: "Goalkeeping is very individual, it's a style. The best thing I can say is to always work hard, that's the most important thing. Listen to your coach, work hard and never cut corners."
By Colin Tan
This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on July 2, 2014.
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