Mario Gotze, hero of the 2014 World Cup for Germany, who scored the match-winning goal in the dying minutes of the final, has been left out of the provisional squad for the FIFA World Cup to be held next month in Russia.
Dubbed ‘The Wonder Kid’, whose last minute strike help the Die Mannschaft lift their fourth World Cup, Mario Gotze’s exclusion comes after a difficult last season at the Borussia Dortmund following a string of injuries and fitness problems.
A Rare Injury
It has been rather a dramatic turn-around for Gotze, who had the world at his feet four years back and now is desperately fighting for his career and his health. Last season, the 26-year-old was diagnosed with Myopathy, a rare metabolic disorder that was discovered after a prolonged loss of form and fitness. The disease attacks muscle fibres, weakening the muscles. It attacks the mitochondria of the cells, resulting in the athlete needing prolonged periods of rest after strenuous activity.
It is potentially a career-threatening affair for a footballer, because Myopathy occurs when muscle fibres in the body become permanently damaged.
A Tough Two Years
Nobody knew it at the time, when at the Bayern Munich in 2015-16, Mario Gotze suffered from inconsistent form, finding it difficult to adjust to Pep Guardiola’s system. Gotze drew harsh criticism during his stay at Bayern, including from German Legend Franz Beckenbauer, who criticised Gotze for poor performances and lack of determination in playing, even though he had been public in his admiration for this supremely gifted player.
Returning to Dortmund in 2016, Super Mario against struggled with fitness, enduring stern criticism from Dortmund’s manager, Peter Stoger, after Dortmund’s surprise 2-1 aggregate defeat in the last 16 of the Europa League to Red Bull Salzburg of Austria.
“We were frankly not satisfied with what Mario Gotze had to offer,” said Stoger, and he was indefinitely benched after his illness was announced.
"I’m currently undergoing treatment and will do everything in my power to be back in training and helping my team to achieve our common goals as soon as possible." - Mario GotzeA Late Comeback
He returned to the German squad after over a year in November 2017 to compete against a difficult pool of talent for the final place in the German team for the FIFA World Cup. Joachim Low, the German boss confided in Gotze stating “He is a player with unbelievable potential, and he is a player I trust…”.
But as it would turn out, eventually Low had to take the harsh decision of dropping Gotze, maybe for greater good, as well as for Gotze’s. Meanwhile, Low has young talents that can match the speed and control of the Mario Gotze of better times, like Leroy Sane who has had a fantastic season with Manchester City.
The discovery of his unfortunate illness has shown his fading versatility in a different light. If, in the future, the ‘Super Mario’ can return to his previous form along with his majestic touch and calm, that would give any love story a run for its money.
The German word ‘Gotze’ was first coined in the 16th century. It means ‘False God’. It would really be an unfair ending to a young man’s career if the name on his shirt spells out his destiny.
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit Send.)
. Read more on Sports by The Quint.IPL 2018 Live: Cutting, Hardik Out; Mumbai Indians 170/8 vs KXIPNo, the SR Bommai Case Has No Relevance to the Karnataka Election . Read more on Sports by The Quint.