Béla Réthy was a permanent institution at ZDF. He had been commentating on soccer matches for Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen since 1991. After the semifinal match between France and Morocco at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the expert retired after almost 400 live broadcasts. His last cast took place exactly on his 66th birthday.

Béla Réthy is not only a soccer expert, but is also considered an expert in the sports of field hockey and Nordic skiing.

In his long career, Béla Réthy has already enjoyed numerous awards, including the 2006 Herbert Award as best live sports reporter and a special mention in the SPORT BILD Award for the ZDF sports editorial team in the category “Best sports reporting in the 2006/2007 TV season.

Book Béla Réthy as an interview partner and presenter for your event.

In June 2019, #belaschweigt shot into the top five of the most popular Twitter hashtags within a few hours. The reason: Réthy could not be heard for 20 minutes during the Nations League final between Portugal and the Netherlands. Réthy’s silencing, however, was not due to listlessness or speechlessness, but to technical problems with the broadcast.

This incident makes it clear how much Réthy is under acoustic scrutiny from viewers – and has been for decades. FOCUS Online once put it in a nutshell: “You love him – or hate him: with Réthy, there seems to be no in-between.”

Béla Réthy – Insights: Man with history and stories.

Béla Réthy polarizes like hardly any other German commentator. He is always honest and sometimes merciless. You often get the feeling that the words just bubble out of him as an expression of his own emotions.

One example: “So, now Australia should learn how to counterattack. Maybe we’ll have a crash course during the halftime break,” Réthy teased during a World Cup match between France and Australia. Not every viewer likes the verbal jabbing. The Facebook page “Béla Réthy gefällt mir nicht,” for example, has around 11,000 fans (as of November 2022).

Réthy’s commentary style is unique. No one gets to the heart of what’s happening on the pitch like the ZDF expert. This becomes clear, among other things, in the sentence “Özil, Müller, Draxler, Özil, Kroos – over!”

Béla Réthy – an argumentative commentator

Réthy deals with criticism with a shrug of the shoulders. He once said that talk was part of the job and no longer had any meaning for him. But the ZDF expert is much tougher on the critics themselves. “Criticism requires a whole sentence. Subject, predicate, object – perhaps also a justification. Something to react to. Just asshole is not enough,” he says on joca.me, wiping out those complainers who have nothing constructive to contribute.

Béla Réthy’s most emotionally difficult moment was the Eriksen drama. He received praise, ZDF had to live with criticism: “Béla Réthy’s silence is a great achievement.” But there have also been funny moments: Commenting on Antonio Rüdiger’s unpunished bite in the Germany game against France’s Paul Pogba, Réthy said: “That was a friendly nibble.”

December 2022: Réthy retires after 31 years, commentating on his last game on December 14 at the World Cup in Qatar on his 66th birthday. Beforehand, his co-commentator Sandro Wagner honored him as an “absolute legend.”

Béla Réthy: “Sorry to those I couldn’t reach. It’s not always easy”

The farewell: “I’m glad if you liked it, and sorry to those I couldn’t reach. It’s not always easy. In any case, I must say, dear viewers, it was a great, great honor. Goodbye and adieu.”

The sports reporter is a linguistic genius. In addition to German and English, he is fluent in his native Hungarian, as well as Portuguese, Spanish and French.

Béla Andreas Réthy was born in Vienna on December 14, 1956. His parents moved from Hungary to Austria shortly before his birth. Shortly thereafter, however, they already moved on – to Brazil. Réthy lived there for twelve years before moving to Germany. In Wiesbaden, he graduated from the Gutenberg School. From 1977 to 1982, he studied journalism, sociology and ethnology at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. After graduating, Béla Réthy became a freelancer in ZDF’s main sports department, where he has been a permanent employee since 1987.

Little is known about Béla Réthy in his private life. The commentator has two grown-up children, Laura and Paul Réthy. Laura is a journalist.