Football News

Lothar Matthaus: Kai Havertz reminds me of Zinedine Zidane in terms of skill and technique

By Ben Green

Published: 17:24, 22 June 2021 | Updated: 12:57, 19 September 2022

Lothar Matthaus has likened the languid yet elegant playing style of Kai Havertz to Zinedine Zidane.

Havertz, 22, took a while to acclimatise to the demands of Premier League football following his lucrative switch from Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea, but he really came to the fore following the appointment of compatriot Thomas Tuchel, netting the winner in the Champions League final.

The German midfielder has since taken that form into Euro 2020, playing a key role in his nation’s recent 4-2 win over Portugal, in which he scored the third goal.

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Such form has not gone unnoticed, with former Germany international Matthaus comparing Havertz to World Cup winner Zidane.

He told Kicker: “I compare him to Zinedine Zidane in terms of skills, technique and overview, and anticipating a situation.

“Zidane didn’t seem quick, but it was when he hit the ball. Havertz can do that too.”

Matthaus has, however, also warned that Havertz still needs to work on certain areas of his game to reach the very top.

“He could score more goals and improve himself in the short movements with special training,” he added. “He has a good eye, good ball control, good positional play, fine technique.

“In addition, Havertz plays intelligently and uses his body well. Havertz is on the way, but nuances will decide whether he will make it to the top, whether he will be an excellent player or just a very good one.”

This comes after Rio Ferdinand likened the Chelsea star to a former Manchester United teammate of his, Dimitar Berbatov, believing he has all the traits of the Bulgaria immortal.

“He reminds me of (Dimitar) Berbatov, a player I played with at Manchester United,” Ferdinand said after Chelsea’s 2-0 Champions League semi-final win over Real Madrid.

“He’s got that little lazy swagger at times, when you feel like he’s got a bit of nonchalance about him. But the guy’s just so smooth man. The game slows down to his pace and he gets things done really, really elegantly, his touch is always exquisite.

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“And I think he’s going to grow into being a really important player and a player that does really showcase his talents in a way that not many others can.”

Joe Cole chimed in with his assessment, saying at the time: “He’s very classy and he’s going to score hatfuls of goals because of that reason and Tuchel alluded to that before the game.

“He’s got a physicality, he’s going to score headers, he’s going to score from set pieces, I think he’s Berbatov but with a yard [of pace]. He’s quicker.”

Kai has everything, but he needs the coach’s trust”

Once the compliments were dished out, Matthaus turned his attention to Havertz’s role in Germany’s system, believing the versatile midfielder has all the capabilities of cementing a consistent starting berth for the next several years, but that there are certain players — namely Thomas Muller — currently occupying his preferred position.

He continued: “Havertz will be one of the fixed points in the national team in the next six or eight years when [Toni] Kroos, [Thomas] Muller and [Ilkay] Gundogan have finished their careers there.

“If I just look at the talent then the coach would have to say Havertz always plays, even when he was not at his best.

“Kai has everything, but he needs the coach’s trust. One place in attack is already occupied by Thomas Muller, which is where I see Havertz.”