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Opinion: Thomas Müller’s miss at Euro 2020 will not define him

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A tying goal from Müller would have brought Germany back into the game and made England nervous; it didn’t happen. However, that doesn’t change what the Bavarian superstar stands for.

England v Germany - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

When a Bayern Munich coach does not like Thomas Müller, he usually gets fired or resigns. Think back to the two Bayern coaches who won it all — they trusted and had strong relationships with Müller. Pep Guardiola was confused but came around to it too.

With Julian Nagelsmann taking over at Bayern today, there will be a Bavarian leading the club — except — a Bavarian has been leading the club for the past decade or so. A young Müller was introduced to the Bayern fans by Jürgen Klinsmann before bursting onto the scene under Louis Van Gaal in 2009-10. He was special; he loved the club; the club loved him back; the fans absolutely adored him.

And he never stopped being special. He went on to claim both the Golden Boot and the Best Young Player Award at the FIFA World Cup in 2010. In 2014, he claimed the Silver Boot and the Silver Ball. In between, he scored a goal in a Champions League final and won a treble. He represented everything good about Bayern. It was hard not to adore him, especially considering he was an unconventional player.

Then came Pep Guardiola; Guardiola likes his players stylish and Müller is anything but. He was confused but, by the time he was in his final year at Bayern, he knew Müller was his guy. Carlo Ancelotti followed and tried to integrate James Rodrigues into the team; he was fired in his second season. Eventually, Niko Kovac came along and he too tried to integrate a fancy playmaker in Philippe Coutinho into the side.

Meanwhile, Müller, slightly off-color, sat on the bench and watched. Nobody could quite do what he could on the pitch for Bayern. He made it all tick. And without him, Bayern wasn’t going to win the Champions League again. Hansi Flick knew that. And it is no coincidence that with Müller’s rise came Bayern’s rise.

That’s how things have worked in Bavaria since 2009.

He was never known to be a clinical finisher and he was never quite a false nine — Louis van Gaal tried it but realized Ivica Olic was a better option up front with Mülli right behind him. Müller took the pitch between two stylish and classy players in Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery; he never looked out of place. He found the spaces and made the runs. And until perhaps 2020, nobody quite appreciated his talents as much as they should. Even Joachim Löw had to call the Raumdeuter (space-interpreter) back into his team.

And that’s why his legacy will not be defined by that miss against England in Euro 2020. He has made a career out of being unconventional and intelligent. He has made one of the greatest clubs in the world tick; he has helped his country to numerous medals, but, most notably, gold medals at the World Cup in 2014. He has won it all and he has been a vital part of all his teams that have won the highest of honors.

Even without being the best finisher, he is tied for the ninth highest scorer in European Cup/Champions League history with the likes of Andriy Shevchenko and Alfredo di Stefano; he is only two goals behind Thierry Henry.

And most of all, throughout all this, he maintains a close connection to his roots and he represents the very essence of Mia San Mia. He has dug out Bayern in Champions League ties time and again; he never stops trying. Even against England, he was urging a lethargic Germany forward and he wasn’t even fully fit.

Thomas Müller far eclipses a miss in a Round of 16 Euros tie. He will, if things go the way that they have been going, go down as one of the most decorated one-club players in history.

Due to his humility, he came out and apologized thoroughly for his miss. But the latest news is that he will be at one of his favorite tournaments, the FIFA World Cup, next year.

And I am sure that he will not only make amends but lead the side, especially under a manager who understands his worth, unlike many before who did not.


Do you think Müller’s miss against England will define his legacy? Leave your comments below and, as always, thank you so much for reading!