If any German player has the motivation to put a few goals past Argentina when they meet on Saturday, it's Thomas Mueller (or ‘Müller' if you figured out where the umlaut shortcut is on your keyboard). The 20-year-old has been playing for Bayern Munich for half his young life, and broke through last season as a lone striker, happily receiving service from Franck Ribery and Arjen "cut in from the right and shoot" Robben. He subsequently helped Bayern win the domestic double and played an integral part in their path to the Champions League Final.
The Bavarian is now a household name, but back in March, when he made his international debut in a friendly against Argentina, the youngster was virtually unknown outside of his home nation. One person who failed to recognize the player in the post match press conference was Diego Maradona. Yahoo! Sports summarizes the super awkward video above:
Maradona joked he thought the ballboy had arrived and felt so slighted that he stormed off and refused to return until the German left the stage to him alone.
It's fairly understandable for an Argentinean not to know the identity of a relatively unknown German player, but Maradona's failure to recognize Mueller from the starting 11 of a match he had literally just watched seems a little disrespectful, and contrary to the expectation of a manager to "know the opposition."
If Mueller adds to his tally of three World Cup goals on Saturday, putting Germany through in a repeat of the heated 2006 quarterfinal tie between the sides, perhaps Senor Maradona will no longer confuse him with a small tracksuited child.
(Note: Maradona did call Mueller a "player" and not ballboy -- the quote says that Maradona JOKED that he first thought Muller was the ballboy. Not that he actually called him that.)
- Bayern Munich
- Diego Maradona