Bayern Munich and Germany legend Gerd Muller has died at the age of 75.
One of the best strikers in history, Muller scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany, including the winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands.
He also scored 547 goals in 594 competitive games during 15 years at Bundesliga giants Bayern.
“Today is a sad, black day for FC Bayern and all of its fans,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said.
“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.”
‘One of the greatest legends in history’
Muller, a two times German footballer of the year, won the Golden Boot for netting 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup and also won the Ballon d’Or that year.
He helped West Germany win the European Championship two years later, scoring twice in a 3-0 win against the Soviet Union in the final.
“The news of Gerd Muller’s death deeply saddens us all,” Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn said.
“He’s one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern, 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.”
A record holder for decades
During his 15 years at Bayern, Muller was the Bundesliga’s top scorer seven times. He also held the record for the most goals in a calendar year after scoring 85 in 1972 until Lionel Messi surpassed his total in 2012.
His record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season – scored in 1971-72 – stood for 49 years before it was broken by Robert Lewandowski in May.
In total, Muller helped Bayern win four Bundesliga and DFB Cup titles, three European Cups, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and an Intercontinental Cup.
In 2015, the club announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
‘The Muhammad Ali of the penalty box’
Born on 3 November 1945, Muller joined Bayern in 1964. With his short stature and stocky build he was nicknamed “short, fat Muller” by his first coach at the club, Zlatko Cajkovski.
However, Muller quickly developed a reputation for being a clinical striker and his goals helped Bayern win the league title four times between 1969 and 1974.
His prowess in the penalty box quickly made him one of the most feared forwards at club and international level, with another Bayern great – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – describing Muller in 2015 as “the best of all time, the Muhammad Ali of the penalty box”.
Muller retired from international football shortly after helping West Germany win the World Cup in 1974, aged just 28, but continued to enjoy success at Bayern before leaving in 1979 to join Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
He played three seasons in the United States before announcing his retirement in 1982.
Tributes paid to Muller
A goal machine for club and country – Muller’s remarkable numbers
- With 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches, he is the record scorer in Bundesliga history.
- He scored 40 goals in 1971-72 – a Bundesliga record which was broken last season by Robert Lewandowski (41).
- In the 1969-70 season, he scored in 16 successive Bundesliga matches, a mark still unbroken.
- He was the top scorer in seven Bundesliga seasons – also a record.
- The “Bomber der Nation” (“the nation’s Bomber”) is also the best scorer in German Cup history – he scored more often (78 goals) than he played games (62).
- Only Miroslav Klose has scored more goals for the German national team (71) than Muller (68). However, Klose also played more than twice as many international matches (137) as Muller (62).