Thomas Muller has described his namesake Gerd as “a great role model and a great man” after it was announced the Bayern Munich and Germany legend was suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Gerd, who once held the record for World Cup finals goals, has been undergoing professional care since the beginning of February this year, Bundesliga champions Bayern stated on Tuesday.
Ahead of Germany’s Euro 2016 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Thursday, Thomas outlined his admiration for a man who scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games.
“Gerd will tackle the illness in a certain way – with a lot of courage and a positive attitude,” Thomas told Bild.
“Gerd is a great role model for me. When I came into the amateur ranks [at Bayern] I got to know him. We got along great from the start. He told me how to conduct myself as an attacking player in the penalty area. For this I remain very grateful.
“I have always perceived Gerd to be a great man. No-one in Germany has reached his strike-rate and yet he is totally modest and never seen himself as something special. Gerd is one of the warmest people I know. He is always friendly with every fan and signs every autograph.
“I wish him and his family all the best at this difficult time.”
Gerd was part of the Bayern side that won three European Cups in a row between 1974 and 1976, as well as four Bundesliga titles.
He also scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany, winning the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup two years later.