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‘The greatest striker there has ever been’: Legendary German footballer Gerd Muller dies aged 75

Written by on 15/08/2021

Germany and Bayern Munich footballing legend Gerd Muller has died at the age of 75.

Bayern said it is a “sad, black day” as the club announced his death on Sunday morning, which followed a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Gerd Muller was the greatest striker there’s ever been, and a fine person and character of world football,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said.

“We’re all united in deep mourning with his wife Uschi as well as his family.”

During a 15-year tenure with Bayern Munich, Muller scored 566 goals in 607 games for the club, which he joined in 1964.

Considered one of the finest players of his generation, he still holds the record for the most goals scored in the Bundesliga with 365.

He was the league’s top scorer on seven occasions.

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Muller won four league titles and three European Cups with the Bavarian side, scoring 66 goals in 74 European matches.

Affectionately known as “Der Bomber”, Muller scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany, including the winner in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands.

German player Gerd Mueller, who scored the winning goal against the Netherlands (2:1) at the 1974 FIFA World Cup final in Munich's Olympic stadium, is celebrating after the final whistle. Germany wins the final, thus repeating - almost to the day - their victory from over 20 years ago. Photo by: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Image: Gerd Muller won the World Cup in 1974. Pic: AP

It was a national record surpassed only by Miroslav Klose in 2014, who needed 129 games to overtake him.

Muller was also key to West Germany’s victory in the 1972 European Championship.

Among his raft of individual and collective awards is the Ballon d’Or, which he won in 1970.

He was once mocked for being “short and fat”, and said he would probably have worked in insurance if his football career had not taken off.

Gerd Muller heads a goal in the 1974 European Cup final, helping Bayern Munich win the title for the first time. Pic: AP
Image: Muller headed a goal in the 1974 European Cup final, helping Bayern Munich win the title for the first time. Pic: AP

Muller was born on 3 November 1945 in Nordlingen, Germany, where he served a junior apprenticeship in weaving in his earlier years.

After leaving Bayern Munich, Muller moved to the US and signed for Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1979.

He played three seasons there and opened a restaurant, before announcing his retirement in 1982.

Muller later became a youth coach at Bayern, developing players such as Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller.

Mr Hainer said his death was a huge loss for the club and all of its fans, adding: “Today the world of FC Bayern stands still.”

“Without Gerd Muller, FC Bayern would not be the club we all love today,” he said.

“His name and the memory of him will live on forever.”

Soccer World Cup 1974: Germany vs. Netherlands
German forward Gerd Mueller (far R, edge of the picture) pushes the ball past defender Ruud Krol (2nd from R, no 12) and goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed into the Dutch goal for the decisive 2-1 goal during the 1974 World Cup final Germany against the Netherlands at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, Germany on 7 July 1974. Germany won the game 2-1 against the Netherlands and won the world champion title for the second time. Mueller, who scored with 10 goals th
Image: Gerd Muller (far right, edge of picture) scoring the decisive goal during the 1974 World Cup final

Bayern chairman Oliver Kahn said Muller’s achievements are “unrivalled to this day and will forever be a part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German football”.

He added: “As a player and a person, Gerd Muller stands for FC Bayern and its development into one of the biggest clubs in the world like no other.

FILE - In this June 14, 1970 file photo Germany's Gerd Mueller scores the decisive third goal for Germany during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Germany and England in Leon, Mexico. Bayern Munich and former West Germany forward Gerd Müller has died at age 75. Mueller joined the Bavarian club in 1964 and won four league titles and four German Cup titles. Mueller helped West Germany win the European Championship in 1972, then the World Cup two years later. (AP Photo, File)
Image: Muller scored the decisive third goal for Germany during the 1970 World Cup quarter-final match against England. Pic: AP

“Gerd will forever be in our hearts.”

Bavarian state president Markus Soder called him “the best German forward of all time” and said he was instrumental to the “successful path” of FC Bayern and the national team.

He is survived by his wife Uschi and his daughter Nicole.

 Sky News

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