Former Bayern Munich forward Gerd Müller has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the club announced on Tuesday.
The goalscoring legend is due to turn 70 at the beginning of November, and has been receiving treatment for his Alzheimer's since February. Müller's wife Uschi revealed his diagnosis to the club and requested their understanding for his exclusion from any public appearances surrounding his 70th birthday.
"We ask for respect for him and his family in this difficult situation," said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "Gerd, who valued concepts like friendship and Fairplay, has earned the right that we are all considerate about his disease, and respect his and his family's privacy. That is not only the distinct wish of his family, but also FC Bayern's. FC Bayern will always support Gerd Müller and his family, and help him whenever necessary."
Müller is Bayern's and the Bundesliga's all time leading goalscorer, earning him the nickname Bomber Der Nation. His 566 goals more than doubles Rainer Ohlhauser in second, and only Miroslav Klose has more goals than him for the Germany national team. His success in conjunction with his 70th birthday is the reason behind his inclusion to the "Kaiser. Kalle. Bomber." exhibit at Bayern's Erlebniswelt museum at Allianz Arena.
"Gerd Müller is one of the greats of world football. Without his goals, FC Bayern and German football wouldn't be what it is today," said Rummenigge. "Gerd was a type of goal scorer, that we presumably will never see again, and despite all the success, always stayed modest and reserved, which especially impressed me. He was a wonderful teammate and is a friend."
"Gerd will always have his permanent spot in the Bayern family. After he retired from professional football, he utilized his experience in his job as a youth coach and shaped our World Champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller. We're also thankful to him for that."