|Christoph Metzelder is playing in his native Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.|
Christoph Metzelder, the towering defender for Borussia Dortmund, is one of the most talented backs in football. He is widely recognized for the numerous ways in which he makes excellent use of his head on the field, dominating the game from the air and outsmarting players on the ground.
Mr. Metzelder recently joined Team UNICEF in support of the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE campaign, launched in partnership with the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, his home country.
Keeping ‘clean sheets’
Born in 1980 in Haltern, North Rhine-Westphalia, Mr. Metzelder played for TuS Haltern at the junior level from 1986 to 1995 and then transferred to Preußen Munster, where he remained for the next four years.
In 2000, he made the jump to the German Bundesliga’s first division, signing with Borussia, where he achieved instant success. He helped guide the team to the league’s championship in 2002, and together with the almost unbeatable Oliver Kahn in goal, kept a number of ‘clean sheets’ as the Germans made a remarkable run to the World Cup Final that same year.
Soon after the World Cup tournament, a torn Achilles tendon almost ended Mr. Metzelder’s career, and he was forced to sit out for more than two years. The resilient defender worked his way back into the Borussia lineup and has returned to full form in preparation for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
He remains a quick-footed defender and a strong tackler, never easily unnerved, with a dynamic combination of composure and confidence on the field. Despite offers from other big clubs, he has remained with Borussia and was recently named team captain.
Advocate for children
During his time on the bench with injuries, Mr. Metzelder took the opportunity to become involved with UNICEF and various German non-governmental organizations, including one working to end child sexual exploitation in Sri Lanka.
He teamed up with UNICEF by offering his support to 17 children from the Germany's industrial northwest region as patron of a ‘OneMinuteJr’ workshop in which teenagers made videos about child poverty.
“It's amazing to see how well the kids can shape their ideas, how deep their thoughts are,” said Mr. Metzelder. “Poverty is not only an issue in developing countries, it's also an issue here around us in Germany.”