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Miracle Boy | What next for Mario Götze?

Rise Götze had established himself as one of Europe's leading talents long before his winning goal in Rio. The diminutive midfielder exploded on to the scene at Borussia Dortmund. He made his debut at 17 in 2009, and soon earned a reputation as one of Europe's most exciting talents in the process. His creativity and flexibility was a perfect fit for Klopp's famed "heavy-metal" style, and the Dortmund academy graduate thrived in Klopp's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. In 2011, he was named as both the Bundesliga Young Player of the Year and the Tuttosport Golden Boy. Felix Magath described him as "a once in a century talent", and Klopp called him "the best talent I've ever seen". He won two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund, but he left the club for Munich in 2013, when Bayern (and Pep Guardiola) - came calling. Götze scored 10 goals and registered nine assists from 20 Bundesliga starts in his debut season ahead of the World Cup in Brazil. By the time he replaced Miroslav Klose in the World Cup final, Götze had already won three Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokal's, the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, and the U17 European Championships (2009).

Struggles After a promising debut season, huge things were expected of the World Cup winner after his dramatic winner in Rio. However, the former Dortmund prodigy struggled to live up to expectations in his second season at the Allianz Arena. Injuries hampered his progress, and his best form remained elusive. He scored 15 goals in 48 appearances as Bayern breezed to their second consecutive title, but there remained the feeling that Götze had far more to offer. The Memmingen native made just 14 league appearances (scoring three goals) in his third season at the club - his first under Carlo Ancelotti - as Bayern won their third Bundesliga title in a row. Götze's season was once again hampered by injury, and it proved to be his last in Munich. A return to Signal Iduna Park beckoned, with Dortmund forking out £22 million for his services. Götze signed a four-year contract with his old club, and admitted he was wrong to join Bayern in the first place. “Today, three years later and at 24, I look at that decision in a different light,” he said. "My objective is to get back to playing my best football. For all of us, the club and the BVB fans." There were hopes that Thomas Tuchel could bring the best out of Götze, but the former boy wonder made just 16 appearances (scoring two goals) in the 2016/17 season. However, Dortmund revealed in February 2017 that Götze had been diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder - rumoured to be myopathy - which cast his entire football career in doubt. The discovery of the disorder also shed a new light on Götze's decline in recent years, but the World Cup winner showed glimpses of his best form last season. The 26 year old made an eye-catching start to the season under new Dortmund boss Peter Bosz, thriving in the number 10 role once again. Bosz was sacked and replaced by Peter Stöger, who opted for a more cautious tactical approach, and Götze's form suffered as a result. Overall, he has scored four goals in 48 league appearances since his return to Dortmund. It has been a difficult few years for the player, and his club struggles have been mirrored at international level. He was used as a false nine at Euro 2016, but was dropped after the group stages. His omission from this summer's German squad will also have hurt. That said, the 26 year old has plenty of time to turn things around.

What next? Should Götze stay at Dortmund, new manager Lucien Favre's attacking style should suit him. Favre received plaudits for his work at Nice, and even got the best out of Mario Balotelli while at the Ligue 1 club. Götze has two years left on his contract, but has been linked with a host of clubs. According to Sky Sports, Arsenal, West Ham, and Everton are all interested in signing the playmaker, and Götze himself has spoken of his desire to work with Klopp again. Spurs, Valencia, and Marseille have also been credited with an interest, but given his illness and injury record, some clubs may view the German as too much of a risk. However, he is likely to be available for under £30 million, and has the potential to be a great signing for any English club. He is technically gifted, possesses excellent vision, and is capable of scoring 10+ goals from midfield. He can also play anywhere across the forward line, and has plenty of experience when it comes to winning trophies. The German international is still only 26, an age at which he should be entering his prime. "Mario is in no way a worse footballer now than when he was younger," Klopp said recently. Götze still has plenty of time - and the ability - to prove his former manager right.

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