Football: Maradona, Germany swoon over hot-shot ‘Skinny One’

SANTO ANDRÉ, June 18, 2014 (AFP) – Goal-scoring machine Gerd Mueller was unkindly nicknamed ‘short, fat Mueller’ during his career, now Germany’s latest hot-shot star has been dubbed ‘El Flaco’ — the Skinny One — by Argentina legend Maradona. Thomas Mueller claimed the first hat-trick of these World Cup finals in Monday’s 4-0 drubbing of Portugal in Germany’s Group G opener in Salvador.

The Bayern Munich star, 24, is normally deployed as a winger or attacking midfielder and has only made rare appearances as striker for either club or country.

But the gangly Mueller repaid the faith of head coach Joachim Loew with an impressive display as a striker against Portugal, which led to Maradona — who almost singlehandedly inspired Argentina to the 1986 World Cup trophy –dubbing him ‘El Flaco’.

“He has no muscles, but today he tore them (Portugal) apart,” an impressed Maradona, who knows a thing or two about goal-scoring, told Venezuelan television.

The goal-scoring exploits of stocky 1970s star Gerd Mueller are legendary amongst Germany fans, but his younger namesake currently has his football-mad country swooning.

The 68-year-old Gerd — also nicknamed ‘Das Bomber’ — retired after scoring West Germany’s winning goal in th