Remembering Robert Enke

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I apologize for the time it took me to finally write this post. When a player you have watched for years apparently commits suicide in a dramatic and public way, it’s difficult to find proper words to put on paper or enter into a computer. A day later, I am still at a loss on what to say.

I will say this much. Robert Enke was a classic German goalkeeper. His run at Benfica got him noticed by Barca. While he failed to crack the first team of the Catalan club and was abused by Fenerbache fans on his loan to the Turkish club, his return to Germany in 2004 was triumphant. Hannover has struggled at times since his return to the Bundesliga, and those struggles could have been much worse without a keeper of his quality.

Enke was in and out of the German national team pool for several years. Considered a top prospect when he was young, he played for the U-21s and was brought into several camps by Erich Ribbeck in 1999 and 2000. But playing behind Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehman meant Enke had to wait until 2007, eight years after his first call up to earn his first full international cap.

I am not going to speculate about the suicide and the psychological and family issues Enke had away from the football pitch. But one thing I do know is that as a 32 year old Goalkeeper, he must have felt the pressure having been injured for the German qualifier in Moscow against Russia last month. In that match, the much younger Rene Adler took Enke’s place and had a blinder.

Enke wanted to be Germany’s number one next summer in South Africa. Perhaps Adler’s performance in Moscow meant that Enke would never start a World Cup match. Maybe the issue were a lot deeper than that. It is also possible football had no roll in Enke’s dramatic departure from this earth.

Whatever the case, Germany and Hannover lost a great goalkeeper yesterday and fans of the game lost someone we loved to watch.