Matthaus urges Muller to focus on Bayern after Germany retirement hint
Thomas Muller has been advised to prioritise his club career by Lothar Matthaus, after the Bayern Munich man said he may retire from international football following Germany's poor World Cup.
Muller started all three of Germany's games in Qatar, but failed to record a single shot on target as Hansi Flick's side suffered a humiliating group-stage exit, their second in as many tournaments.
In the immediate aftermath of Germany's elimination, the Bayern Munich forward described the team's campaign as a "disaster" and said he will take time to consider his future in international football.
Writing for Sky Sports in Germany, Matthaus – the World's Cup's record appearance-maker with 25 games at the tournament – hinted the 33-year-old may benefit from stepping away.
"Of course, Thomas Muller is of a certain age and had a few phases before the World Cup in which he was injured. I know such phases," Matthaus said.
"I could only advise Thomas personally because I may have stopped concentrating fully on the club too late. When he did that for a year or two, he had his best time.
"But if he wants to keep playing, he should do it when Hansi Flick needs him. I don't want to push anyone to resign, the player has to make that decision together with the coach."
Muller previously spent two years in the international wilderness under Flick's predecessor Joachim Low, who refused to consider the attacker – as well as defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng – between March 2019 and the beginning of Euro 2020 last year.
The forward enjoyed one of his most successful club campaigns during that spell, helping Bayern win the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal trophies in the 2019-20 season.
Muller has scored 10 World Cup goals during his illustrious career, a tally only bettered by three of his compatriots – Miroslav Klose (16), Gerd Muller (14) and Jurgen Klinsmann (11).
Meanwhile, Jamal Musiala was one of few Germany players to emerge with any credit for his performances in Qatar, and Matthaus believes he is a contender to assume Muller's role.
"We don't have any leading players like him [Muller] in his position in the national team, but we have many players who can grow into this role and spin behind the forwards, like Musiala and [Kai] Havertz," the former captain added.