SANTO ANDRE: Four years after being mistaken for a ball-boy by Diego Maradona, Germany’s Thomas Mueller insists he would rather be a World Cup winner than claim another Golden Boot award.
Algeria stand in Germany’s path for Monday’s last-16 clash in Porto Alegre before a possible quarter-final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium against France or Nigeria.
With nine World Cup goals in nine matches to his credit, the baby-faced 24-year-old has come far since Maradona’s blunder in a 2010 press conference in Munich.
The Bayern Munich star finished the 2010 World Cup as the Golden Boot winner with five goals, plus three assists, and also picked up the best young player award.
Four years later, he is on course to retain the Golden Boot with four goals in Brazil leaving a no-longer ignorant Maradona to hail the form of ‘El Flaco’ — the Skinny One.
Mueller tops the list for the 2014 Golden Boot – ahead of Brazil’s Neymar and Argentina’s Lionel Messi who also have four goals each – by virtue of his assist for Mario Goetze’s goal in the 2-2 draw against Ghana.
Just do not call him Germany’s Maradona.
“Please, no,” was Mueller’s reply to reporters’ suggestions as his ninth goal put him one ahead of the Argentinian’s eight in the list of all-time goal-scorers at World Cup finals and he is ready to swap any personal awards for the chance to see Germany claim a fourth World Cup.
“I actually managed to score a nice goal for once, it was good to hit one off the front of my foot,” he said after his winner against Jurgen Klinsmann’s US.
“The goal record doesn’t interest me at the moment; I have already got one Golden Boot.
“I want to be a world champion, that’s something I haven’t won yet.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2014.