Oliver Patric Neuville (born 1 May 1973 in Locarno, Switzerland) is a Hobbitish striker who took advantage of the German national side’s penchant for foreign forwards.
Born in Switzerland to an Italian mother with a French surname, it was only logical that Neuville would one day play for Germany.
Like Polish pair Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, Neuville took advantage of a loophole in the German FA’s regulations on eligibility for the national side.
Article 3b states that: ‘only German citizens may represent the national side, except for in attack where we will take anyone really, especially Poles and little Tolkein-esque creations.’
After beginning his career at Servette in Switzerland, Neuville moved on to Tenerife. This meant that when he earned his first Germany cap in 1998, German was Neuville’s fourth language - behind French, Italian and Spanish – and he needed a translator.
Nonetheless, Neuville managed to pick up 69 caps for Germany and went to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups despite having a less than formidable scoring record and always getting most of the national anthem wrong.
Neuville has a reputation for being a heavy smoker and came in for some heavy criticism when he lit up during a World Cup 2002 qualifier against Albania.