‘Kaka would be a silly boy if he denies the offer’

For all his on-field heroics,Gerd Muller is a shy man. He is happy to play the second fiddle and doesn’t mind to allow Franz Beckenbauer to be the face of German football despite the fact that he has scored 68 goals...

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Published: January 20, 2009 2:51 am

For all his on-field heroics,Gerd Muller is a shy man. He is happy to play the second fiddle and doesn’t mind to allow Franz Beckenbauer to be the face of German football despite the fact that he has scored 68 goals — 14 of them in the World Cup — for his country and has been adjudged Bundesliga’s best player ever.

To him,football is secondary. Family comes first. That was the reason why he retired from international football at the age of 28. “When I returned home after the 1974 World Cup,my daughter said,‘look an uncle has come’. That day I decided to call it quits,because I wanted to give more time to my family,” said Muller during a ‘meet-the-press’ programme at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club today. He continued his club career till 36 to earn a living.

Football wasn’t a very lucrative career in the 1970s. “I played for Bayern Munich for 150 Deutsche Mark per week,which is close to 80 Euros. Now,Manchester City are willing pay Kaka 5,00,000 Pounds a week. Kaka would be a silly boy if denies the offer. Even half of it is big enough to take him there,” Muller commented.

A lethal striker,Muller,however,believes goal-scoring has become a lot tougher now.

“Earlier,it used to be man-against-man. Now it’s collective defending. So,the strikers don’t get too much time on the ball. It has become tougher for them.”

A reporter asked him to compare between Pele’s Brazil and Johan Cruyff’s Holland. Muller voted in favour of the former but was quick to add the that the World Cup winning German team of 1974 was better than both of them.

“We brought on a new style and new approach. I think we were the best.” But who between Pele and Maradona? “Muller,” he said tongue-in-cheek. He,however,has no doubt that Lionel Messi is a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Bayern Munich under-23 assistant coach was ready to admit that the standard of German football has gone down of late. “In the 1960s and 70s,Bundesliga used to be world’s best football league. Now the Spanish League and English Premier League are the two top competitions. Bundesliga has taken a backseat,and that has been reflecting on our national team’s performance.”

He short-listed the World Cup win,defeating England in the 1970 World Cup and getting the best Bundesliga player award as the three best moments of his career.

But when asked about Indian football,he turned shaky. “We are here as guests and don’t want to crticise. Bayern Munich have joined hands with Techno India and the state government to build a football school in Bengal. The idea is to start with the kids and teach them the basics. Maybe,in five-six years time the results would be coming.

“We have played a couple of matches here and East Bengal’s No.3 (Nirmal Chhetri) has been impressive. He has an all round game,can play in defence,as also in the midfield. The boy has a good future,” Der Bomber signed off.

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