Comments made by Thomas Müller following Germany's 8-0 win over San Marino have sparked a pointed response from the small republic. Müller questioned the point of playing the minnows in World Cup qualifying.
In an open letter to Thomas Müller posted on Facebook, Alan Gasperoni, a spokesman for San Marino's Olympic Committee (CONS) listed 10 reasons why Friday's Group C match was worth Germany playing.
This followed comments made by Müller after Friday's game, in which he questioned the point of Germany's stars playing a "team of amateurs" in the "pouring rain."
"Of course, it's a highlight for San Marino to play the world champions. But these games, in such slippery conditions, leave you exposed to unnecessary risks."
Among Gasperoni's 10 reasons were: "That your federation (and ours) pocketed money from the sale of image rights with which, in addition to paying you for your trouble, help build facilities for the children of your country, football schools and safer stadiums."
Gasperoni also noted that: "It also served to show that football belongs to everyone who loves it and we are part of that, whether you like it or not."
However, in the letter, linked to by an unverified twitter account, Gasperoni took a pointed jab at Müller's recent lack of goal production.
"It served to show that even against lowly teams like ours you cannot score a goal and don't say you were not frustrated when (keeper Aldo) Simoncini denied you," Gasperoni said.
He also took the opportunity to play on a possibly outdated German stereotype.
"And it also served to make it clear to me that even under the most beautiful football shirts you will always be the ones who wear white socks with their sandals."
The open letter, written in Italian, was first posted on Sunday afternoon local time. By Tuesday morning it had received almost 29,000 likes.
pfd/sb (SID, AFP, Reuters)