20 QUESTIONS 20 ANSWERS – Mark Schwarzer
Born: 6 October 1972 in Sydney, Australia
Clubs: 1990-1994: Marconi Stallions (Australia). 1994-1995: Dynamo Dresden (Germany). 1995-1996: Kaiserslautem (Germany). 1996-1997: Bradford City (England). Since 1997: Middlesbrough (England).
Honours: 1993: Australian champion. 1997, 1998: English League Cup finalist. 2004: English League Cup winner. 2006: UEFA Cup finalist. Took part in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals in Germany. 53 caps for Australia.
Miscellaneous: Began his career alongside Italian striker Christian Vieri at Marconi Stallions. Played in 2006 UEFA Cup final against Sevilla wearing a protective mask to shield a fractured cheekbone. Schwarzer’s German parents, Hans-Joachim and Doris, emigrated to Australia in the 1960s. Mark speaks English, Spanish and German and has a son, Julian, and daughter, Amaya, with wife Paloma.
1. What does football mean to you?
It’s not only a passion but it’s a hobby, a job and a big part of my life. But for me real life begins after football because what I do for a living is like being in a fantasy world.
2. Which football club did you support as a child?
Liverpool, which is purely because Craig Johnston was the first Australian to make it big in Europe.
3. Did you ever have an idol?
As a kid it had to be Craig Johnston and the former Bayern Munich and Belgium goalkeeper, Jean-Marie Pfaff, because at the time he was rated as one of the best in the world if not the very best.
4. What is your fondest footballing memory?
It’s a close-run thing. It’s probably qualifying for the FIFA “World Cup™ in 2005 in front of my hometown crowd in Sydney [when Schwarzer saved two penalties in a shoot-out win over Uruguay - Ed.] and reaching the finals for the first time in 32 years but at club level it’s winning the 2004 League Cup final with Middlesbrough.
5. What has been your biggest disappointment in football?
It would have to be the manner in which we were knocked out of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals in a 1-0 defeat by Italy. Francesco Totti scored after a debatable penalty decision but it happened with basically the last kick of the match and we had no chance to reply.
6. If you had not become a professional footballer, what would you have become?
I really don’t know because at a very young age I really knew what I wanted to do and that was to make it as a footballer.
7. What is your favourite type of music?
I like a broad spectrum from stuff that’s in charts today to old stuff whether it’s AC/DC, Madonna, Michael Jackson, George Michael and Wham! As for Australian music it actually would have to be rock singer Jimmy Barnes – what a performer!
8. And your favourite book?
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
9. Your favourite film?
I love the old Star Wars movies, Bmveheart and Pulp Fiction.
10. Your favourite city?
Sydney. As Dwight Yorke said in this magazine a few months ago, it’s just everything about the place.
11. What is your favourite food?
Thai, Italian and Spanish.
12. What is your favourite hobby?
It might sound boring but I guess it’s just spending time with my family.
13. What do you spend most of your money on?
On my children and the everyday things that they require, ranging from school fees to sporting equipment.
14. What was your first job?
Working in a sports store in the outer suburbs of Sydney.
15. Who has been the most influential figure in world history?
From an Australian perspective it’s got to be Captain James Cook because he discovered our country.
Otherwise, there are lots of people, but Albert Einstein springs to mind.
16. What are you afraid of?
What life has to bring for the future for my children because of the way our society is
17. What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?
In the 2004 League Cup final I let in a very soft shot from Kevin Davies on one of the biggest stages in front of a live TV audience and 70,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff but we still won 2-1.
18. How do you see the future of the world?
Hopefully, it will become safer and greener with people taking more responsibility for their own actions.
19. Where would you like to go on holiday?
Either Australia or the Costa Brava in Spain.
20. Who would you most like to meet?
My ideal dinner party back home in Yorkshire would be Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker and John McEnroe.
Will Australia qualify for the 2010 FIFA “World Cup™?
Yes, I think we can but it will be more difficult than last time because we are part of the Asian confederation.
Who is the best player in the world at the moment?
It’s probably Lionel Messi.
Will Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate ever take charge of the England team?
Why not? Maybe in ten or 15 years’ time that opportunity might arise.
Will Middlesbrough ever qualify for the UEFA Charnptons League?
You’ve got to be realistic so at the moment it’s unlikely.
Will you stay in football as a coach when your playing career is over?