Bayern Munich and Germany legend Gerd Muller has died at the age of 75.
One of the best strikers in history, Muller has scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany, including the game-winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands.
He also scored 547 goals in 594 competitive games in 15 years at Bundesliga giant Bayern.
“Today is a sad and dark day for FC Bayern and all their fans,” said Bayern President Herbert Hainer.
“Gerd Muller was the greatest striker of all time – and a great 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 memory will live on forever.”
“One of the greatest legends in history”
Muller, two-time German Footballer of the Year, won the Golden Boot for scoring 10 goals in 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 victory over the Soviet Union in the final.
“The news of Gerd Muller’s death saddens us all deeply,” said Bayern general manager Oliver Kahn.
“He is one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern, his achievements are unmatched 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 represents FC Bayern and their development into one of the greatest clubs in the world like no other. Gerd will be in our hearts forever.”
Record holder for decades
In his 15 years at Bayern, Muller was the Bundesliga’s top scorer seven times. He also held the record for most goals in a calendar year after scoring 85 goals in 1972 until Lionel Messi surpassed his total in 2012.
His record of 40 Bundesliga goals – scored in 1971-72 – lasted 49 years before being beaten by Robert Lewandowski in May.
In total, Muller has helped Bayern win four Bundesliga and DFB Cup titles, three European Cups, one European Cup Winners’ Cup and one Intercontinental Cup.
In 2015, the club announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Muhammad Ali from the penalty bench”
Born on November 3, 1945, Muller joined Bayern in 1964. With his short stature and stocky build, he was nicknamed “the small and fat Muller” by his first coach at the club, Zlatko Cajkovski.
However, Muller quickly gained a reputation as a clinical striker and his goals helped Bayern win the league title four times between 1969 and 1974.
His prowess in the penalty area quickly made him one of the most feared strikers at club and international level, with another Bayern greats – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – describing Muller in 2015 as “the best of all time, Muhammad Ali from the penalty area “.
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 the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
He played three seasons in the United States before announcing his retirement in 1982.
Tributes to Muller
A goal machine for club and country – Muller’s remarkable numbers
With 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games, he is the top scorer in Bundesliga history.
He scored 40 goals in 1971-72 – a Bundesliga record that was broken last season by Robert Lewandowski (41).
During the 1969-70 season, he scored in 16 successive Bundesliga matches, a still unbroken mark.
He was the top scorer in seven Bundesliga seasons – also a record.
The “Bomber der Nation” (“the Bombardier of the nation”) is also the top scorer in German Cup history – he has scored more often (78 goals) than he has played (62) .
Only Miroslav Klose has scored more goals for the German national team (71) than Muller (68). However, Klose has also played more than twice as many international matches (137) as Muller (62).