Martin Hinteregger ends his professional career

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The 29-year-old professional soccer player has come under criticism for controversial business relationships with a suspected right-wing extremist FPÖ member. His contract with Eintracht Frankfurt is terminated.

And the end! Eintracht Frankfurt's Martin Hinteregger is no longer a professional footballer

Eintracht Frankfurt's Martin Hinteregger ended his football career completely unexpectedly and with immediate effect. The Hessians announced this decision by the 29-year-old on Thursday. “I enjoyed the victory in the Europa League so much because I knew then that it would be my last big victory celebration with the fantastic fans in this city, which has become my second home,” said Hinteregger in a club statement.

Krösche: “Unexpected Decision”

He had already thought about retiring after the season last fall.  The contract with Europa League winners Frankfurt, which is valid until June 30, 2024, will be suspended. This was initially reported by the “Bild-Zeitung”. Sports director Markus Krösche said: “Martin's decision came as a surprise to us, but he explained his perspective and reasons to us in an impressive and convincing manner. Therefore, there was no question for us to comply with this sportingly painful but humanly understandable wish.”

Hinteregger was recently heavily criticized for a business relationship with an FPÖ local councilor. Although the defender ended the relationship and clearly differentiated himself to the right, he annoyed other fans with his statements in subsequent interviews. “Emotional, perhaps thoughtless words from me have led to irritation and I would like to apologize for that. I very much regret that. To put it quite clearly again: I condemn right-wing, intolerant and inhuman ideas in the strongest possible terms,” ​​Hinteregger clarified once again .

Audience favorite and argumentative spirit

According to Eintracht, Hinteregger asked the board to release him from his obligations ahead of time. Although the professional was a crowd favorite because of his approachable and undisguised manner, he has recently become more and more of a problem for the club. “Martin's step deserves respect and recognition,” said Krösche, for whom a serious problem was solved by itself.

The official added: “Not least because of his sincere apologies for his behavior over the past few days and weeks and his clear and credible distancing from right-wing ideas, he remains always welcome in Frankfurt as a deserved player and European Cup winner.” Hinteregger contributed to the club being able to take “this great development”.

Hinteregger's career as a professional footballer was not without scandals even before the surprising end in Frankfurt and the development that led to it. When he was still playing at FC Augsburg, he publicly criticized his then coach Maunel Baum in an interview in January 2019. “I can't say anything positive about him, but I won't say anything negative either,” were his words at the time. As a result, the Hinteregger club fined him and suspended him from team training. A little later, Hinteregger was free to look for a new club.

He found him at Eintracht Frankfurt, where he also attracted attention with antics: a video-documented intoxication at a folk festival, blabbering out internals and most recently the cooperation with the former FPÖ municipal council with neo-Nazi connections.

asz/jk (dpa)