Muller can break my World Cup goal record, says Klose

The Bayern Munich forward is on course to secure the landmark according to the veteran, who also opened the door for a return to the Germany setup

Former Germany striker Miroslav Klose is tipping Thomas Muller to surpass his World Cup goal tally.

The striker’s 16th World Cup goal in the 7-1 semi-final win over hosts Brazil in last year’s tournament established him as the highest scorer ever at the championships.

However, Klose believes Bayern Munich forward Muller, who has found the net 10 times in the competition already, will make the record his own by the end of his career.

“Thomas Muller could become the record scorer in the World Cup. He already has 10 goals,” the veteran told Bild. “If he stays healthy, I assume he can still play in two more tournaments.

“Thomas has a nose for goals. In addition, he takes charge of penalties, something I was never allowed to do.”

Klose joined Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm in retiring from international football at the end of Germany’s triumphant World Cup campaign, but has now revealed he would be keen to slip back into die Mannschaft colours.

“I talked to Germany coach Joachim Low just several weeks ago. A return to the national team is no issue at the moment,” the 37-year-old, who recently signed an extension until 2016 with Lazio, said.

“One should never say never. My professional career only began at 21, really. Maybe that’s why I can still play for longer.”

Guardiola has destroyed Gotze – agent

Volker Struth was scathing in his assessment of the way the Catalan coach has treated his client, who he says needs to feel the faith of the club

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has “destroyed” Mario Gotze and is responsible for his struggles there, according to the midfielder’s agent.

The World Cup winner with Germany had been expected to play a starring role last season but was shuffled around positionally by Guardiola before being dropped for crucial semi-final ties in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal.

And the 23-year-old’s representative has pointed the finger of blame at the trainer as the reason for the midfielder not fulfilling his potential so far, though he also ruled out an exit as of now . 

“Guardiola has destroyed Gotze. He feels like the coach doesn’t have faith in him and yet still he is asked to be decisive when he gets on the pitch,” Volker Struth told Bild .

“I’m surprised that Guardiola didn’t use Gotze in important matches like the German Cup and Champions League semi-finals. He only plays in the easy games.

“I wonder why no one at the club has realised that and defended Mario. Bayern need a figure like former president Uli Hoeness again.”

Gotze switched from Dortmund to Allianz Arena for €37 million in 2013 at Guardiola’s request but has failed to truly make an impact in either of his two seasons in Bavaria.

Guardiola is welcome back at Barcelona – Laporta

The presidential hopeful would be eager to reunite with his former coach, and stated that Lionel Messi must be made to feel comfortable at the club

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta says the doors are open for Pep Guardiola to return to Camp Nou, but insists that Luis Enrique will remain coach next season.

Guardiola was promoted to become first-team coach of the Catalans in 2008 during Laporta’s first spell as president before he led the club to the treble that season and delivered a further 11 trophies during a four-year spell.

And Laporta remains open to the idea of bringing the current Bayern Munich boss back to Camp Nou one day.

“I’m on friendly terms with Pep and if he were interested in coming back, we’d talk about it,” the lawyer said on Cuatro . “However, Luis Enrique will be the coach next season.”

The latter led the Blaugrana to their second treble last term with the help of talisman Lionel Messi – who scored 58 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions – after a fallout between the pair in January was resolved.

Messi’s impact led Laporta to talk of the importance of cultivating an environment in which the Argentine feels comfortable.

“I hope Leo keeps running the show to a great extent. He will never call for a coach’s head,” he continued. “What we have to do is create a team in which he feels thoroughly at ease. We’re talking about the best player in the history of football.”

Laporta is one of the frontrunners to assume office when Barcelona’s presidential election is held on July 18 and he hit out at previous presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is also running in the vote, for the club’s troubled state as they face legal action over the deal which brought Neymar to Catalunya from Santos.

“They whipped up a lot of resentment with their vote of censure and got up to all sorts,” Laporta said of his successors. 

The 53-year-old also ruled out the signing Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, stating: “He’s a Real Madrid icon and is negotiating a new contract.

“I’ve already got payback for them signing Luis Figo by buying Samuel Eto’o. As everyone knows, what goes around comes around.”

Bayern Munich have shown no faith in Gotze, claims agent

The ex-Borussia Dortmund talent is struggling for confidence at the Allianz Arena, though he is not thinking of leaving the club

Mario Gotze’s agent has hit out at Bayern Munich for not showing his client enough faith, stating the midfielder is suffering from a crisis of confidence as a result.

The 23-year-old made headlines in 2013 for a €37 million move to the German champions but has failed to become pivotal in coach Pep Guardiola’s plans, with the Catalan unable to find the World Cup-winner’s best position on the field.

His struggles culminated in being dropped for die Roten’s Champions League and DFB-Pokal semi-final clashes last term despite injuries to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, and his representative has now revealed the dissatisfaction at the situation.

“It is natural that he was disappointed and he reflected afterwards,” Volker Struth told Bild. “Of course, I sometimes wished that Mario would have got more backing.

“As a player you are wondering: ‘Why am I not playing as a starter?’ Mario explicitly went to Bayern in order to play such great matches and win titles.”

Nevertheless, Struth insisted Gotze is happy to remain at Allianz Arena and fight for his place despite increased competition coming in the form of new arrival Douglas Costa.

“No. Mario did not even think about that [a summer exit] for a second,” he continued. “He is an unbelievably professional footballer who works very hard. Many people don’t see that at all.

“I think the evaluation of his two years at Bayern is often incorrect. He played around 50 games each season and won four titles. And you should never forget that he recently became only 23 years old.

“I am convinced: if Mario feels confidence it is easier for him to bring his unbelievable potential on the field. Then he will be one of the best players in the world.”

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Douglas Costa not at Robben or Ribery's level – Lucescu

The Shakhtar boss does not think the winger is good enough to force his way into Bayern’s starting XI yet – though he is confident in his potential

Douglas Costa is not yet ready to displace Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at Bayern Munich, according to Mircea Lucescu, the Brazilian’s former coach at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Bayern signed the 24-year-old for €30 million to bolster their options in attack after Robben and Ribery’s injury-hit seasons contributed to Bayern’s defeats in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal semi-finals.

But though Lucescu believes Costa has the potential to eventually become a game-changer for die Roten, he nevertheless maintains his protege is not yet of the calibre to fill Ribery or Robben’s boots.

“I don’t think Douglas is good enough to start for Bayern yet,” the 69-year-old told Bild

“Ribery and Robben are still on a different plain. But Douglas is can grow further there and still make it. 

“He has the quality, but the Bundesliga is at a different level [compared to the Ukrainian Premier League].”

Costa moved to Donbass Arena from Gremio in 2010 and had gone on to score 38 goals in 202 appearances in all competitions before his transfer last Wednesday.

The Brazil international is Pep Guardiola’s third signing this summer following the arrivals of goalkeeper Sven Ulreich as well as ex-Red Bull Leipzig loanee and Stuttgart talent Joshua Kimmich.

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Ribery vows to return from injury nightmare

The Bayern Munich winger admits he does not yet know when he can remove a protective ankle cast but is adamant his career is not drawing to an end

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has vowed that his ankle injury nightmare will not prevent him from returning to football for too long.

The former France international, who missed last summer’s World Cup due to a back complaint, has been sidelined since March with an ankle problem picked up against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Ribery has been forced to wear a protective cast over his foot as a result of numerous setbacks to his recovery plans and question marks have been raised in some quarters over whether he can return to full fitness and form.

Bayern have also splashed out €30 million on Douglas Costa, prompting sporting director Matthias Sammer to insist that Ribery was not being replaced by the Brazilian.

But Ribery himself has made it clear he does not believe his top-level career could be coming towards an end.

“I don’t know if the plaster cast will be removed if I still have pain. We will see,” the 32-year-old told Kicker.

“It doesn’t matter if I am 20 or 35 years old now, this injury has nothing to do with age. I will come back, that’s for sure.”

Ribery managed just 15 appearances in the Bundesliga last season.

'It's a crazy world' – Sammer offers Manchester United Schweinsteiger hope


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Guardiola: I need Robben, Ribery & Martinez fit more than new players

The Bavarians’ coach praised the club’s work in the transfer market so far and believes they have all the ingredients in place to enjoy success

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says getting his players fit again for the coming season is more important than any new signings the club will make this summer.

The Bavarians won their third Bundesliga crown in a row last term but crashed out in the last four of the Champions League and the final of the DFB-Pokal following an injury crisis that ruled out the likes of Mehdi Benatia, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

And with Guardiola’s men looking to restart after their underwhelming finish to the last campaign, the coach insisted on the importance of having a full squad to choose from over new signings as the club seek to mount a successful challenge on all fronts.

“My dream is not to have a single player. My dream is to have a fully fit squad, to have a fit Ribery, Robben and Javi Martinez so I can play my desired formation,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“We’re eager to get going, but first we need to stay calm and train. We have many new rivals. Borussia Dortmund have a new coach, Borussia Monchengladbach are better, Bayer Leverkusen have Roger Schmidt, then there’s Wolfsburg and Schalke as well.”

Speculation has been rife on the transfer front but Guardiola reiterated his confidence in the players currently at his disposal, praising new arrivals Douglas Costa and Joshua Kimmich as the players Bayern needed to stay ahead of the Bundesliga chasing pack.

“Matthias Sammer or Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are the right people to talk to about transfers,” the trainer continued. “Joshua Kimmich is a young player. I didn’t know him, but I saw him play for Red Bull Leipzig in Munich. I think he has the quality.

“I hope Douglas Costa can fit into the team quickly. We will help him, of course. I’m grateful to the club for the signing. He has great quality. We need a player for one-on-one situations. He’s a very young player and a fighter.”

The German champions will begin the defence of their league crown when the new season begins on August 15, hosting Hamburg at Allianz Arena.

Lahm: I won't make Germany comeback

The 31-year-old says there is no chance of him returning to the national team and admits the team regretted demolishing Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final

Philipp Lahm says he has no intention of making a comeback for Germany, insisting he was right to retire from international football after winning the World Cup in 2014.

The defender called time on his international career after he played a key role in Joachim Low’s side being crowned world champions in Brazil, trouncing the hosts 7-1 before beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.

But while the Bayern Munich captain stated that the triumph ranked as one of his greatest, he still defended the decision to walk away was the right one as he focuses on other priorities in life.

“I will not go back,” Lahm told France Fooball. “Those who know me know that when I make a decision, it is final. There is no better time to retire than after a victorious World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana.

“My private life is always more important than the ones in my profession. The births of my sons are greater moments in my life than winning the World Cup. During my six weeks away there, I missed my family. Now we have more time together.

“I am the happiest when I am surrounded by my loved ones.”

The 31-year-old also sympathised with Brazil after their landslide defeat to Germany in the semi-finals, comparing the heartbreak to Die Mannschaft’s own 2-0 World Cup semi-final loss to Italy on home soil in 2006.

“I know what they were feeling at that point,” he continued. “It was also terrible when Germany were eliminated so close to the final in 2006 as hosts.

“Mercy has no place in football, but we regretted destroying the host country that way.”

Costa is not replacing Ribery – Sammer

The German champions’ director hailed the Brazilian’s versatility but insists the injured French winger has their full support

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has slammed the suggestion Douglas Costa is a Franck Ribery replacement as “disrespectful”.

Costa completed a €30 million move to Bayern on Wednesday, joining on a five-year deal from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The 24-year-old will bolster the attacking options of the German champions but Sammer dismissed the notion Costa had been brought in to cover for former France international Ribery, 32, who has been battling a long-term injury problem.

“Very versatile, maybe not in defence but he can play multiple positions,” Sammer said of Costa. 

“In reference to Franck Ribery, who is injured now for a long time, I think it is very disrespectful. 

“He is injured, cannot train with the team but is still a player of Bayern Munich. 

“We will wait for him, he has our full support and we hope that he will come back healthy as soon as possible. 

“Douglas Costa is not his replacement. 

“Of course, Costa can play on the right side, because he can attack the middle with his strong left foot but he can also play on the left side and in the middle. 

“Altogether I see him as an offensive player, with a lot of flexibility.”

Sammer also said Bayern “will wait and see” on the future of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is yet to confirm he will stay at the Bundesliga powerhouse that he has called home since joining the youth team in 1998.

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