Gerd Muller

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Bayern, Germany legend Gerd Muller suffering from Alzheimer’s

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Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.

One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.

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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.

Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.

There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.

He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.

After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.

Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).

Lunchtime distraction: All 86 of Messi’s goals in one video

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In the wake of Lionel Messi’s latest record, there’s been some very minor backlash. Soccer seasons don’t exist January-to-December, some have noted.

No, but calendars do. And people still use calendars. They still annotated date in discrete year units. Nobody records their daughter’s birthday in terms of the Spanish soccer season.

Well, hopefully they don’t.

Admittedly, it is a bit contrived to pick a window that doesn’t correspond to the soccer season, but talking about goals scored in a calendar year isn’t arbitrary. And given soccer leagues around the world have different start dates, a January-to-December isn’t that objectionable. The backlash seems more Messi fatigue or being blindsided by hype of yet another record, both of which are understandable.

But all records are kind of wonky, especially when you’re comparing players that didn’t play in the same era, competition, or country. Even baseball, where numbers are more revered than anywhere, have records that mean almost nothing. Does anybody care who holds the home run record now? Records are just something to talk about, even if nobody’s obliged to engage in the conversation.

Ultimately, a dude has scored 86 goals in a little less than 12 months. Even if we talk about that independent of record books, it’s an accomplishment worth noting.

Which is exactly what this video does. Need something to watch while your Cup of Noodles cools down? Here are Messi’s 86 goals all in one place. Enjoy.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY6m8sOjenU]

Lionel Messi scores 85th, 86th goals of year, passes Gerd Müller

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Since Wednesday there were doubts whether he’d even play, but not only was Lionel Messi in the starting lineup for Barcelona at Real Betis today, he quickly answered the day’s big question:

Would he break the record?

That record was former Bayern Munich/Germany striker Gerd Müller’s, the three-time European champion posting 85 goals in all FIFA-sanctioned competitions in 1972. Messi entered today’s game on 84: 72 for Barcelona; 12 for Argentina.

The record-tying goal came after only 16 minutes, with Müller taking a back seat nine minutes later:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok8SeyOGbH8]

It’s apropos that the record-setter came on a goal that’s had to be added to Messi’s game. You didn’t see play like that when he broke into Barça’s senior team eight years ago. Since, Messi has matured from the widely talented right winger he was at 17 into the middle-of-the-field orchestrator he is today.

source: Getty ImagesCharging at the defense, he lets his pass for Andrés Iniesta go just in time to give his teammates space for a backheel. One touch later and Messi’s let go of a surgical far post finish. The opposing keeper has no chance.

Messi’s always been a phenom, but that kind of playmaking and precision are things he’s had to develop en route to becoming the world’s best player. His initial value was on the ball – taking on his man to create his own opportunities, occasionally setting his teammates up for others.

He was a wildcard to team built around Ronaldinho, Deco, Samuel Eto’o, and Xavi. Now his game embodies the best of all those players’ skills: Xavi’s precision and prolificness; Deco’s nous; Eto’o finishing; Ronaldinho’s flair.

Though today’s accomplishment highlights his individualism, Messi’s matured into a player you can build a team around without fear it will devolve into a quest for numbers. The records just come.

MORE: All 86 goals, one video

After today’s 2-1 victory in Seville, Barcelona has four more games left on their 2012 schedule: a Copa del Rey home-and-away against second division Cordoba, a huge home match against Atletico (and Radamel Falcao) and a year-ender at Real Valladolid.

If he plays every game, as he wants to do, Messi could come close to 95 goals, but with 100 out of reach and Cordoba offering a chance for rest, look for Messi to settle in just short of 90.

Messi injury won’t prevent pursuit of record in Seville

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Mid-week, Lionel Messi’s injury looked bad, and more than a few LCD inches were devoted to considering the worst case scenario. You couldn’t help but think the worst after his collision with Benfica goalkeeper Artur. Messi said he didn’t think he’d be playing again for a very long time, given how his left knee felt on Wednesday.

Thankfully, all of that consternation is proving undo worry, with Barcelona’s star declared fit to play tomorrow in Seville against Real Betis:

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova included Messi in his squad for the Spanish league match at Betis on Sunday, saying the forward will play barring a setback.

“(Messi) feels fine, he isn’t bothered (by the knee),” Vilanova said Saturday. “If he is traveling it’s because he’s in condition to play. It there existed even the smallest risk he wouldn’t travel with the team.”

So the chase for the record will continue. Messi sits on 84 goals for the calendar year, one behind the total amassed by German great Gerd Müller in 1972.

It would take a huge slump to miss the record. Before the calendar turns, Messi has five possible matches, three in league and two Copa del Rey meetings with Cordoba.

And the record could very well fall tomorrow. In his last four meetings with Real Betis, Messi has scored six times.

Move over Gerd: Messi now European single-season goal scoring champion

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And, of course, if came via a hat trick.

Lionel Messi scored three goals today against Málaga, pushing his single-season, all-competition goal total to 68 – a new European record. His first, on 35 minutes from the spot, evened up being the game winner, and after a record-tying tally from the spot, Messi set the new standard with a nice piece of skill over Carlos Kameni.

The previous high of 67 was set by German icon Gerd Müller in 1972-73, whose 36 goals in Bundesliga play were augmented by 19 in domestic cups, seven in Europe.

Here are their breakdowns by competition (keep in mind, Messi has two more Primera matches and the Copa del Rey final):

Lionel Messi (2011-12, Barcelona)

Gerd Muller (1972-73, Bayern Munich)

source:  source:
Competition Games Goals
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Spanish Primera Division 35 46
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Copa del Rey 6 2
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Champions League 11 14
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Spanish Supercup 2 3
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UEFA Super Cup 1 1
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Club World Cup 2 2
Competition Games Goals
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German Bundesliga 33 36
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DFB-Pokal 5 7
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DFB-Ligapokal 5 12
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European Cup 6 12

Highlights

Here’s the tape via some industrious YouTube user. The third one’s a peach. The first two Messi goals are just spot kicks:

And some Gerd Muller, featuring some thigh talk: