Dumped by Germany at the age of just 29, there’s more misery on the horizon for Thomas Muller.
Europe’s football fans watched on aghast in December last year as Muller, attempting to bring down a high ball, delivered a studs-up, kung-fu kick blow to the back of Nicolas Tagliafico’s head in Bayern’s 3-3 draw with Ajax. It was the sort of foul that can end careers.
It has been a miserable week for Thomas Muller as he was dumped by Germany
Muller touched down in Liverpool (left) ahead of Bayern Munich’s Champions League clash at Anfield last month, even though he would not play due to suspension. It has been another tough season so far for the forward, who has consistently seen his goals return diminishing
Muller is no longer the totem at Bayern that he once was, and is in and out of the team
He famously cried after Germany’s World Cup exit, and he endured a miserable tournament; as a result he has now had his international career ended for him at the age of just 29
Mercifully, the Argentinian escaped unscathed. Muller gave an immediate apology, and a genuine one at that. Of all the accusations one could lay at the German striker’s door, brutality is not one of them. It was the first straight red card of his career, brought about by recklessness rather than malice, and he was banned for both games against Liverpool.
Yet somehow, the foul on Tagliafico was emblematic of the trials and troubles of Muller in recent years. His Midas touch has faded. Where once his unorthodox style made him unplayable, now it makes him look human. The influential Transfermarkt website has lowered his estimated market value from €50million to €36m. The figure itself is arbitrary, but the drop says a lot about Muller’s dwindling aura.
‘It hasn’t really been Thomas’s year,’ said Germany coach Joachim Low late last year after Muller won his 100th cap against Holland. Even that milestone ended a damp squib for the centurion, as Germany squandered a two-goal lead to end a miserable Nations League campaign.
Then, this week, came the brutal cull by Low of Muller from Germany’s squad. Not just now, but for good. No matter how well he plays for Bayern from now on, the door is closed.
‘Now it is time to set the course for the future. We want to give the team a new look,’ said Low. ‘I am convinced that this is the right step. The youngsters coming through will have the room they need to grow.’
The inference is clear: Muller, along with Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng – plus the self-exiled Mesut Ozil – has taken the blame for Germany’s ridicule at last year’s World Cup, their worst in in 80 years.
Pointedly, Ozil paid tribute to his friend Boateng on social media but made no mention of Muller or Hummels, pointing towards the divisions in that team.
In truth, Muller’s troubles go back…