Thomas Müller awarded Bavarian Order of Merit
"It's a huge honour, I wasn't expecting it. I have strong links with Bavaria and my homeland." For Thomas Müller the pride and joy at receiving the Bavarian Order of Merit were clear to see. At midday on Tuesday the FC Bayern striker was awarded this prestigious distinction by Minister President Markus Söder.
"Bavarians are a mix of proud personalities and people who don't forget their neighbours, nor their humour. I want to stay the same Thomas Müller as that of the last 30 years," continued the 2014 world champion. Müller has played for FC Bayern since his youth, winning among other things eight German league titles, five DFB Cups and one Champions League with the record champions. Away from the pitch the Upper Bavarian native has also played an active role, for example in the charity Young Wings.
Müller follows Schweinsteiger
It was exactly this that led Söder to nominate Müller for this special award. "You aren't just a great footballer, you're a man who is often sorely missed," began the Minister President in the splendid Prinz-Carl-Palais in Munich's State Chancellery. "At FC Bayern you are a true Bavarian amongst top players from all over the world. It's a gift that you're so authentic. You aren't just on the pitch as a player, you're an integral emotional part of the team. You are a great ambassador for Bavaria."
The Bavarian Order of Merit is the most exclusive distinction in the free state of Bavaria, as the rules stipulate there can only be 2000 living holders at one time. In the summer of 2018 Bastian Schweinsteiger was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit. Alongside Müller on Tuesday the multiple Paralympic champion Anna Schaffelhuber and two politicians were also honoured. "You are all outstanding Bavarians. Not just because of medals and trophies, you show courage and are an example for others. You are all special people," added Söder.