Created on 27-06-2014 at 14:45 PM
Four for Lionel Messi, four for Neymar – and four for Thomas Müller. The Golden Boot winner of 2010 is giving his fellow goal-getters a run for their money at the World Cup. “He's in playing mode 365 days a year. And you produce your best performances when you're in playing mode. That's what he's like now - and I don't think he'll lose it,” said central defender Per Mertesacker about the goalscoring hero.
With his ninth goal in nine World Cup games the FC Bayern pro overtakes Rudi Völler and Diego Maradona in the all-time World Cup rankings. If he continues the form shown in Brazil it is only a matter of time before he catches up with leading scorers Miroslav Klose and Ronaldo (15 each).
'Man of the Match' for the second time
Three goals against Portugal and now a delightful curler to net the winner in the 1-0 victory over the USA: Müller was named Man of the Match in Brazil for the second time after claiming the award in Germany’s opening game. “I feel good. It's great fun playing in this team,” said the 24-year-old in Recife. And his outstanding self-belief has grown a little bit more. “It feels good when you can rely on your ability, you have the necessary fortune and it all goes well.”
And it certainly is going well. Müller does not possess the outstanding technical ability of Messi or Neymar but he has his own unique approach. The Müller approach. “Any country in the world would want to have Thomas Müller in their team,” declared defeated USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann. Müller made his Bayern Bundesliga debut under Klinsmann in August 2008 and has now shown he has moved up a gear or two. The striker scores and scores and scores.
Praise from all sides
“Thomas Müller is physically and mentally on top of his game,” vouched Germany coach Joachim Löw. “Opponents find it difficult to work him out or get hold of him. He's very, very smart in moving around the pitch and he always seems to pop up in the box.” And if a defender fails to look out the ball can easily land in the back of the net. “Thomas only needs one chance to score,” said Klinsmann, picking out just one of the Bayern striker's strengths.
Müller not only scores goals. He puts in a shift for the team, opens up space and covers back. “He covers an incredible amount of ground, he runs further than anyone else in the team and he has incredibly good running stats,” declared Löw who has described the way his top goal-getter plays as “unorthodox”. “That's not quite right. I'm the surprise package,” said Müller. “Attacks thrive on surprise moves. I always try to produce a surprise when I can.”
Up for the World Cup
The 24-year-old is not usually lost for words and interviews with the Bayern front man are never boring. He not only stands out at times due to his unfathomable way of playing but also through his use of words as he studiously avoids platitudes. He is always up for a joke. When asked whether the impressive Bastian Schweinsteiger deserved to win the Man of the Match award, Müller countered drily: “At the end of the day, I think you've got to score a goal to be man of the match.”
Joking aside, Müller is aiming high and he is maturing into a leader on the pitch. “We're incredibly ambitious and we want another major title,” said Müller who has a contract at Bayern to 2019. Whether or not he repeats the feat of winning the Golden Boot as he did in South Africa is almost insignificant compared with securing the ultimate prize. “I wouldn't know what to do with a second Golden Boot. The aim is to win the World Cup rather than finish as top goalscorer,” he stated.