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Messi is Muller’schoice

Calcutta: Gerd Muller, one of the all-time best strikers in the world, rated Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday, calling the Argentinian striker his current favourite.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference through an interpreter, Muller also said Kaka would be a “silly boy” not to sign a reported £103m deal with Manchester City.

The following are excerpts

Q: Why are Bayern visiting India?

A: We are preparing for the second part of our season. I’m the assistant coach of this team. We have much better training conditions here considering the temperatures in Germany. It’s very cold in Germany now.

The standard of East Bengal

I don’t want to evaluate the standards. We came here as guests… We played in a nice climate and good atmosphere. I want to say ‘Thank You!’. I am overwhelmed by the affection I got here. I need extra boxes to carry home all the gifts. If I were travelling in the Continent, I would have asked for a Tata car.

The most impressive East Bengal player?

It’s difficult to rate a team. But one player I would like to mention is the No. 3 player (Nirmal Chetri). He didn’t play very well today, but he’s an excellent defender.

Should Kaka sign for Manchester City?

Kaka would be a silly boy if he doesn’t sign… Even half the amount should be enough. (Grins) My first contract with Bayern was worth about euros 80 a month.

Who would you pay to watch — Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?

Lionel Messi.

Who’s greater — Pele or Maradona?

Hail Muller!

His relationship with George Best

We had to play for the same club… He didn’t give me too many balls. But a couple of months later he left.

Why did you retire from international football at an early age, and do you think it’s possible for players now to play till the age of 36 as you did at the club level?

When I came back home after winning the World Cup (1974), my daughter, on seeing me said ‘Uncle is coming.’ I decided to finish my international career then and devote more time to my family. Now, it depends on what position the footballer plays. It’s possible for a striker like me to play till 36 but for a midfielder or a defender it’s difficult. They have to run so many kilometres.

Top three accolades in his career

Winning the World Cup is always the top. Second would be the match against England when we won and I scored. The third is when I won the Best Bundesliga player award. Which of them was better — the 1970 Brazil team or the Holland team of 1974?

I rate the Brazil team of 1970 as better than the Holland team in 1974. But speaking about our German team, the one in 1974 was better.

Why aren’t Germany wining championships these days?

Germany couldn’t maintain the standard they had in the 60s and 70s. Bundesliga was the toughest league in Europe those days. But now leagues in other countries have become tougher.

Improvement in Indian football

I think we’re on the right path. If we really want to improve Indian football, we have to start from the basics. Then we can hope to improve in the next five-six years.

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