Matthias Sammer did his East German military service with a unit attached to the infamous secret police, the former German star explained when confronted with his Stasi file by Bild newspaper.
"There were pressures it was impossible to escape," said the 50-year-old former sweeper who played 23 times for East Germany and then 51 times for a united Germany. "Obviously it was sad and was part of a bad system but we had no choice."
"The players of Dynamo Dresden were attached to a guards regiment," Sammer said adding this allowed them "to escape active military service".
Sammer says he never spied
Sammer, who never had to spy on his compatriots, found himself at the age of 19 enlisted in the regiment attached to the ministry of state security, while playing full-time.
"I never saw a weapon or took part in a training exercise," said Sammer who was a key member of Germany's Euro 96 winning team.
Sammer's father Klaus was also an East German international who played in all the qualifying matches for the 1972 Olympics and 1974 World Cup but was not selected for the tournament squads because he refused to join the governing Socialist Unity Party.
Sammer also won the Champions League as a player with Borussia Dortmund where he also won the Bundesliga twice as a player and once as manager. He then became sporting director of the German football federation and later Bayern Munich, a post he quit for health reasons in 2016.