Statistically, Ron is the undisputed leader in Bundesliga history: Nobody has completed more games than him. And he was only 30 years of age when he overtook former Bayern keeper Sepp Maier in the rankings.
Specifically, since 9 April, 2011, Ron has been on the pitch for 90 minutes in every Bundesliga game, with the exception of one season that he played in England. Only in his first season did he have to be substituted once and was out for a further two games with a shoulder injury, but otherwise he never missed a game.
Ennobled by the Sir
At 15, Ron was a great prospect for German football. After moving to 1. FC Köln at the age of 10, he was trained there to be a national youth keeper. At 16 he moved to Manchester United after manager legend Alex Ferguson personally convinced him and attributed an “exceptional quality” to him.
While he didn’t get to the professional level, Ron played for the reserves and was loaned to Northampton Town. His time in England was formative and when he returned to Germany at 21 having been U19 European Champion, he was immediately made first-choice keeper at Hanover 96, a position he held for his entire time there.
Ron is seen as a safe, complete goalkeeper who is comfortable coming off his line, makes clever openings and dominates his box. In the 2018/2019 season with VfB Stuttgart he didn’t lose one single challenge in the air – an impressive statistic.
The PhD for Footballers
He first played for Germany at U16, was at the U17 and U19 European Championships, even winning the title in the latter in 2008 as the first-choice keeper, and was also in goal at the U20 World Cup. He didn’t play for the U21 team as he had his début at 22 years of age for the national team, taking part in the 2012 European Championship and 2014 World Cup as a substitute keeper – Ron is a World Cup winner. He says: “For a footballer, a World Cup title is equivalent to a PhD for a doctor.”
Ron’s unusual career path has led him to practically every important competition – there’s hardly anything he hasn’t experienced. After Hanover’s relegation in 2016 he moved to reigning English champions, Leicester City, and played in the Champions League, having already stood between the goalposts for Hanover 96 in the Europa League.
“More talent. More ambition. More discipline. More everything:” His father Raimunt, himself an ex-professional, analysing at one point what distinguishes Ron-Robert. He turned out to be right, as did Alex Ferguson when he recognised that the 16-year-old Cologne boy had what it takes to be a professional footballer.