Bernd Schuster’s early retirement from the West Germany national team
Bernd Schuster’s decision to retire from the West Germany national team at just 24-years-old is regrettable. However, it was necessitated by his major disagreements with the German federation concerning his treatment. His last appearance for West Germany was in 1984, having played 21 times between 1979 and 1984, scoring four goals.
At 20, Bernd Schuster made his international debut, a year before winning the European Championship in 1980. Named in the Team of the Tournament, his performances across that season also earned him second place in Europe’s best player award, behind team-mate Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
However, dissatisfied with the perceived treatment he was receiving, Bernd Schuster walked away from West Germany to focus on club football at Barcelona. “I grew annoyed with the German federation for not acknowledging all of the efforts I was making just to play for my country,” Schuster explained to FourFourTwo.
In 1981, Schuster desperately wanted to play in a friendly match against Brazil, but Barça had a Copa del Rey fixture against Rayo Vallecano on the same day, and they wouldn’t allow him to go. In frustration, Schuster ran away without permission, causing the German federation’s anger towards him to increase. This spelled the end of his career with West Germany.
Schuster further added to his decision to retire from international football by refusing to play in a match against Albania in 1984, opting to stay home for the birth of his second son, David, causing national outrage.
Had he continued playing for the national team, Bernd Schuster would have been part of the squad that won the 1990 World Cup. Schuster regrets his decision and blames his youthfulness for the poor way he dealt with the situation. “I was still young, reckless and impulsive. That generation went on to win the 1990 World Cup, and I could have been there,” he said.