Gerd Muller, the striker who scored the winning goal for West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final, has died aged 75.
Considered one of the finest players of his generation, Muller also helped West Germany to European Championship glory in 1972 and won the European Cup three times with Bayern Munich.
Muller died on Sunday morning after a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
His former club Bayern revealed the news with a statement which read: “Today the world of FC Bayern stands still.
“The German record champions and his entire fan base mourn Gerd Muller, who died early Sunday morning at the age of 75.”
Affectionately known as ‘Der Bomber’, Muller scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany, including the winner against Holland at Munich’s Olympic Stadium in 1974.
During 15 years at Bayern, Muller hit a record 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games and 66 goals in 74 European matches.
He also won the Ballon d’Or in 1970 among a host of other individual and collective awards and honours.
FC Bayern are mourning the passing of Gerd Müller.— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 15, 2021
Bayern president Herbert Hainer told the club website: “Today is a sad, black day for FC Bayern and all of its fans.
“Gerd Muller was the greatest striker there has ever been – and a fine person, a personality in world football. We are united in deep sorrow with his wife Uschi and his family.
“Without Gerd Muller, FC Bayern would not be the club we all love today. His name and the memory of him will live on forever.”
Former Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, now the club’s chief executive, described Muller as “one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern”.
He added: “His achievements are unrivalled to this day and will forever be a part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German football.
“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. Gerd will forever be in our hearts.”
Another former Bayern and Germany star, Bastian Schweinsteiger, hailed the role Muller played in his own development.
He said on Twitter: “Thank you, Gerd! Without this man, @FCBayern would not be like it is today and most of our careers would probably not have been possible. My thoughts are with his family, I am grateful to call him one of my coaches.”
Manchester City’s former Bayern boss Pep Guardiola said Muller would be “remembered as the absolute greatest”.
Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “Very sorry to hear that Gerd Müller has passed away. Loved watching him as a child and learnt so much from doing so. The greatest penalty box goal scorer I’ve ever seen.”
Brazil great Pele hailed Muller as one of the best strikers he had seen play.
He wrote on Instagram: “Today is a sad day for those who love the sport. When a star as bright as Gerd leaves you, it’s impossible not to feel your heart sink. He is an unquestionable idol for anyone who loves football.
“Muller was the leader who took German football to the next level. He was one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen play and a great human being.
“His name will be remembered forever. I transmit all my affection here and I hope that God will comfort the hearts of your family and friends.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin echoed Pele’s sentiments and called Muller “a true great”.
“Gerd Muller was one of the greatest strikers we have ever seen, whose name is known not just in Germany or Europe but all over the world, thanks to an incredible talent for scoring goals which has been almost unrivalled to this day,” said Ceferin.
“On behalf of the European football community, I would like to express my sadness at the passing of a true great, and send my condolences to his family, friends and former team-mates at this difficult time.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.