Thomas Müller: not old at all

Alejandro Panfil @AlePanfil 

“I don't want to say that I feel vindicated because that sounds like revenge. But I am glad to have shown that I do not belong to the old bottle container and that I still have something to contribute”, confessed Thomas Müller after winning his second UEFA Champions League against Paris Saint Germain, the French squad that includes Neymar, Mbappe and a handful of other millionaire stars. Many people might think he’s an old player since he’s been with the first team of Bayern Munich and Germany National Team for many years, but his passport and his game at its highest level clearly refute any biased appreciation. He’s only 30 years old and has many years ahead to continue playing and shining. 

The skinny athlete, born in Weilheim, has spent his whole life defending the colors of Bayern Munich: he did all the junior divisions in the club until he was promoted to Louis Van Gaal’s first team in 2008. In his first season, he played 5 games and scored 1 goal, but he showed an amazing development after the following season, playing 52 games, scoring 19 times, winning his first Bundesliga, the German cup, reaching his first Champions League final -defeated against Inter- and playing his first World Cup with the national team in South Africa, finishing in the third position. Müller learnt fast and perfectly well the handbook of a successful German player.  Mentally, physically and technically prepared for winning, he put himself in service of the team, adapting his skills to play as a midfielder, a wing-man or a striker, and showed an extraordinary professionalism. As a result, every player who signs for Bayern and every kid who is promoted to the main squad is inspired by Thomas Müller. 

Since that season 2009-2010, he has logged in total 9 Bundesliga, 6 German Cups, 5 German Super Cup, 2 Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 World Cup Clubs and the best of his titles, the World Cup 2014 in Brazil beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina, in the Maracaná Stadium. 

He’s a fantastic goal scorer. For Bayern he played in total 534 games and scored 199 goals. Also, he scored 38 goals in 100 games for the National Team, but 10 goals were scored in his 16 World Cup Games. His numbers are mind-blowing! Just six goals behind Miroslav Klose, the top scorer ever of the WC.  Beyond his goal marks, the proof that he is a great team player is his number of assistances: 193 for Bayern and 36 for Germany. 

Above all, Müller has what Kobe Bryant would call a “mamba mentality” and is always determined to win, even after several unsuccessful attempts. Now that we watch him celebrate winning his second Champions League we cannot ignore the fact that before he won it the first time in 2013, he had lost two finals, in 2010 against Inter of Milan in Madrid and in 2012 against Chelsea at Bayern’s own Stadium in Munich. On that occasion, the Bavarians were ahead until the 88th minute when Didier Drogba tied the score and sent the final into overtime, where Chelsea finally won on penalty kicks. He also had to deal with very difficult setbacks wearing the Mannschaft jersey. In 2010, the German squad was eliminated by Spain in the South African World Cup semifinals and ended up lifting the trophy four years later. He’s a man of patience, perseverance and belief, what makes him a successful top soccer player.

Müller appear a bit unsympathetic to those who wanted to see Messi win a World Cup in Brazil and those who wanted to see Neymar and Mbappe win the Champions League with PSG. Even though his name might not have built the same expectations than other names, Thomas Müller’s incredible competitive capacity will surely leave a longstanding mark in soccer history and will continue to inspire both individually and collectively. Because Thomas Müller is not just a player with fantastic individual stats, he´s one of the best team players on the planet.

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