Muller says football not lucrative during his time

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Legendary German footballer Gerd Muller said his sport was not lucrative during his time, unlike these days when the amount crossed 100 million euros.

Updated: January 19, 2009 17:54 IST
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Legendary German footballer Gerd Muller on Monday said his sport was not very lucrative during his time, unlike these days when the offer amount crossed 100 million euros.

"I played for Bayern Munich with the signing amount being 80 Euros per month," said the iconic German player who retired after winning the 1974 World Cup.

Asked about exorbitant transfer fees especially with Manchester City willing to pay Kaka over 100 million Euros, he quipped, "Kaka would be a silly boy if denies the offer. Even half the amount will do."

On why he chose to quit international soccer at 28, even though he continued playing for clubs till 36, he said it was due to family obligations.

"When I returned home after winning the World Cup (in 1974), my daughter said 'uncle is coming' ... Then I realised I have to spend more time with my family and daughter."

The 63-year-old said, "You can continue playing till you are old. It depends on the position you play and the way you play. It's easy for my kind of striker to continue playing than a mid-fielder or defender who runs so many kilometres and loses energy."

Muller rated Pele's 1970 World Cup champion side higher than the 1974 Netherlands team. "I would rate Pele's 1970 side much better than Holland in 1974," Muller said.

"But talking about German side, our World Cup winning team in 1974 was stronger than the one in 1970. (In the final against Netherlands) it was a very very tough fight, throughout the tournament and then in the final.

"All of us were very happy when the final whistle came because we had fought so hard," he told reporters at the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club.

Describing the 1974 World Cup win as his most memorable moment, Muller said, "If you become world champion, I think it's a crown in a player's career."

His match against England was his second best. "We defeated England. Last but not the least, when I was voted Best Bundesliga Player, even though we had so many great players like Frank Beckenbeur and others it becomes a memorable and emotional moment."

He attributed the decline of German football over the years to the deteriorating standard of Bundesliga. "Germany could not keep the standard when they were in top form in the 1960s, 70s and till 1980s.

"In old days, we had better individual players. But these days, weaker teams can beat better teams because of tactics. In old days, it was much of a man vs man fight."

Muller rated Lionel Messi ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and jokingly said he was even greater than Pele and Diego Maradona.

He admitted that he was not friendly with former North Ireland player George Best. They both played for Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

"It's an old story. We were never the best of friends. We hated to play in the same team. He never used to pass balls. Some months later, he was finished but I continued playing."

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