By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus - When a global Icon like Germany's Gerd Muller dies, the sorrow transcends all barriers.
Muller was among the few soccer players who redefined the game and his death on Sunday leaves Germany and world football in sorrow.
Born on 3rd November 1945, Muller is regarded as one of the best finishers of all time. He joined Bayern Munich in 1964 and due to his short stature and stocky build, Zlatko Cajkvoski, his first coach at Bayern Munich, nicknamed him, "Short fat Muller."
He went ahead to score 547 goals in 594 games for the Bavarians in 15 years.
Muller scored 10 goals at a star-studded 1970 World Cup in Mexico, taking home the tournament's golden boot and beating top stars like Brazil's Pele and Toastao, England's Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore among others. This feat won him the Ballon d'or that year.
Four years later, Muller scored the winning goal to help West Germany beat the Netherlands 3-0 in the 1974 World Cup Final. He scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for his country.
Apart from being Bundesliga top scorer seven times in fifteen years at Bayern, Muller also made a 40 league goal tally for a Bundesliga side – the highest number of goals recorded in a single season before it was ended by Robert Lewandoski in May 2021.
The "short fat Muller" won four Bundesliga and DFB Pokal titles, three European cups, a European winner’s cup and an intercontinental cup for Bayern Munich.
He won the 1974 World cup for West Germany before retiring from international football a few months after aged only 28.
He continued to play for Bayern Munich until 1979 when he left for the United States of America to join other legends like Brazilian legend Pele, who had signed for FC Cosmos.
Some members of the KIU fraternity joined the Germans and the football world in eulogizing the great.
Muhammad Awale, a Masters student at KIU and an ardent fan of Bayern Munich said he learned about Muller in 2012 following Messi's ending of his 40-year record of scoring the highest number of goals in a calendar year.
"Ever since, I have been reading about him. He was a phenomenal finisher and ultimately one of the greatest players to read about," Awale said.
"I have watched videos of the 1974 world cup several times. I could see Muller make some dangerous runs into the opponents’ box. I've also read and heard about him. He is truly a legend who should be honoured," Shaffic Mugweri, finalist student of Mass Communication at KIU and a freelance soccer commentator told this website.
Gerd Muller retired from football in 1982 though he remained close to the game in different capacities. His death on Sunday followed years of illness.