Germany star Thomas Muller says he intended no disrespect towards San Marino after saying an 8-0 win over the microstate “had nothing to do with football”.
Muller has been heavily criticised for the comments, drawing notable ire from San Marino coach Pierangelo Manzaroli and director of communications of the country’s Olympic Committee, Alan Gasperoni, who produced a light-hearted, but cutting, 10-point rebuttal to the Bayern Munich man.
The striker was teased over his inability to score against the minnows, in a season in which he is yet to find the net in the Bundesliga for Bayern.
And Muller was prompted to clarify his stance, claiming that his frustration lay with a packed schedule with club and country.
Muller posted on Facebook: “My statement in the interview after Friday’s game concerned a question of the sporting value of a game against San Marino put against the risk of injury.
“This has been taken out of context by some media, and now people have the wrong impression, influenced by a humorous social media post by a former official at the San Marino Football Association.
“I would like to clarify here that I gave my answer respectfully to show both sides of the subject.”
After providing his original interview, in full and without spin, Muller added: “I can assure my fans I will not shy away from expressing my opinions in the future, even with difficult and unpleasant topics.”
San Marino Olympic Committee spokesman Alan Gasperoni had posted the following statement on social media in response to Muller’s original comments:
You’re right. The games like that on a Friday night, they’re nothing. To you. On the other hand, dear Thomas, you do not need to come to San Marino for almost nothing in a weekend in which, without the Bundesliga, you could have spent with your wife on the sofa of your luxury villa or, who knows, you could have taken part in some events organised by your sponsors to bank several thousand euros. I believe you, but allow me to give 10 good reasons why I think the San Marino-Germany match was very useful and if could think about them, let me know your thoughts:
1. It served to show you that not even against the teams as poor as ours can you score a goal – and don’t say you weren’t annoyed when Simoncini stopped you scoring…
2. It served to make it clear to your managers (and even Beckenbauer and Rummenigge) that football is not owned by them but by all of those who love it, among which, like it or not, WE are included.
3. It served to remind hundreds of journalists from all over Europe that there are still guys who follow their dreams and not your rules.
4. It served to confirm that you Germans will never change and that history has taught you that “bullying” is not always a guarantee of victory.
5. It served to show the 200 guys in San Marino who play the game for whatever reason why their coaches ask them to always work their hardest. Who knows – maybe one day all their sacrifice will be repaid with a game against the champions of the world.
6. It allowed your Federation (and also ours) to collect the money of image rights with which, in addition to paying you for your trouble, they can build pitches for the kids of your own country, schools, and make football stadiums safer… Our Federation, I’ll let you in on a secret, is building a new football pitch in a remote village called Acquaviva. You could build it with six months of your salary, we’ll do it with the rights of 90 minutes of a game. Not bad, right?
7. It served to a country as big as your pitch in Munich to go into the papers for a good reason, because a football match is always a good reason.
8. It served well for your friend Gnabry, in the national team and scoring three goals.
9. It made some Sanmarinese people a little happier to remember that we have a real national team.
10. It’s served to make me realise that even if you wear the most beautiful adidas kits, underneath you’re always the ones that put white socks under their sandals.
With love, Alan.”