The Germany squad have been awarded the Silver Laurel Leaf by German Federal President Joachim Gauck following their successful World Cup campaign in the summer.
All of Joachim Low’s squad from Brazil were in attendance at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin — apart from the injured Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle — where Gauck presented the nation’s highest honour for achievement in sport.
„The truth is that we all won the World Cup, or that we all feel like it in any case,“ Gauck said during the ceremony, which was also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and FIFA president Sepp Blatter. „You can like it or not, but it’s a fact that football in Germany creates a strong feeling of togetherness.
„You and everyone at the DFB [German Football Association] responsible for the presence and the success are entitled to be a bit proud that in French the German team is called ‚La Mannschaft‘ and in English ‚The Mannschaft.‘
„When a word is adapted by another language, and is not translated, it is because the word is something very special and expresses something unique, which can’t be exactly translated. And that often is a sign of respect and esteem.“
Germany’s World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm, who has since retired from international football, added: „For many of us, this isn’t our first time here. Nevertheless, this time is quite special because we brought the trophy with us.
„We would like to thank both the Federal President and the Federal Chancellor for all your support. It was a pleasure and an honour for us to welcome you into the dressing room at the [World Cup] games.“
The celebrations for the World Cup winners continue in Berlin on Monday evening with the premiere of the „Die Mannschaft“ documentary.