Though supremely talented, Mario Gotze was not the star of a German team packed with talent until he made himself the hero by scoring the World Cup final’s only goal deep into extra time.
Gotze did not play at all in Germany’s 7-1 domination of Brazil in the semifinals and only made a seven-minute cameo at the end of their quarterfinal win over France.
He was once again out of the starting lineup for the final, and wasn’t brought on until the 88th minute, but that ended up suiting him just fine.
Here’s everything you need to know about the man who sealed Germany’s fourth World Cup title…
– Still just 22 years old, Gotze made a contentious €37 million ($50 million) move from boyhood club Borussia Dortmund to rival Bayern Munich last summer.
This was seen as an unforgivable betrayal by Dortmund fans and since the deal was announced two months before the end of the season, they had ample time to let him know it. One banner read: “The pursuit of money shows how much heart you really have.”
– That transfer made Gotze the second most expensive German player ever behind only Mesut Ozil, who moved from Real Madrid to Arsenal a few months later for 50 million euros ($66 million).
– Bayern had to apologise to kitmaker and minority owner Adidas after Gotze showed up to his first press conference wearing a Nike shirt.
– Coming into a Bayern team that won the treble the season before, Gotze was a favourite of new manager Pep Guardiola but still struggled to hold down a starting spot at times. He finished the season with 15 goals and 14 assists across all competitions.
– His professional career only consists of five seasons, but he’s already won two Bundesliga titles and a DFB Pokal with Dortmund, then he won the Bundesliga, the DFB Pokal, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup last season with Bayern. And now he’s gone and added a World Cup winner’s medal to the mix.
– He can juggle his chewing gum. And has no problem resuming his chewing after he’s done so.