Back in May 2016, Leicester City made the impossible, possible. A Premier League title was a victory for the underdog. For the common man. For those who prefer their football as real as it used to be before billionaires somehow ruined the beautiful game.
It was also a very personal, and improbable, victory for Foxes’ left-back Christian Fuchs. “I’m not playing for my coach, I’m not playing for my team mates, I’m playing for my own success,” he told Yahoo Sport.
“I never believed it until it happened. When we watched the Chelsea v Tottenham game all together at Jamie Vardy’s house, it was a crazy up-and-down experience.
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“Tottenham went up 2-0, then Chelsea equalised with a beautiful Hazard goal, for which I’ll be thankful for the rest of my life.”
Perhaps to be expected, the following season never came close to hitting the heights of the previous one, and Fuchs believes that there were certain factors in play as to why that was. And he absolutely refutes any suggestion that the squad weren’t playing for Claudio Ranieri, an accusation made at the time.
“I wouldn’t say the players let him down. We had to cope with a couple of factors, but we had a great streak in the Champions League with Ranieri and went through the group stage without a problem.
“It was a very different season, and we all knew that we might not be able to repeat what we’d created before.”
It’s clear that Fuchs isn’t your average footballer, with his own clothing line and YouTube channel, NoFuchsGiven. His business sense comes from graduating with an economics degree, something he earned whilst already playing professional football.
At 17, he had his first contract, but far from his parents being worried at how it might affect his studies, they were fully supportive of their son’s aspirations.
“When I was younger, there were a lot of people seeing my potential and saying; ‘he will be a footballer,’ but my dad was more like ‘you know what, one step at a time. Get your school work done and then we can talk about it’.
“I’m thankful that he was persistent in telling me to finish school, because I think that was very important and helped me a lot.
“In the same way, my parents were very supportive in going to every home game and away game. Wherever we played they were always with me.”
In New York, whilst there’s a break from Premier League duty, Fuchs is spending some long-overdue time with his family and also making plans for Street Soccer in Manhattan, as well as running his Fox Soccer Academy.
There’s much to occupy his mind before he makes the permanent move to the big Apple in June 2019.
“The Street Soccer project is basically a start-up. It happened pretty fast. We went to a breakfast with Street Soccer USA in Manhattan. It was interesting to see how much engagement and how much enthusiasm they have to try and bring the game of football to American kids, to New York kids that can’t afford to play at an academy.
“We were so convinced and loved the project that we got in touch with people right away, so we could host a clinic with them. Giving back to the kids, who are not able to afford a fancy camp, makes me personally very happy.”
The move to Manhattan is set in stone, so even if Premier League managers or otherwise come calling, they’ll be given a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’. No matter if more money is available elsewhere, he won’t be swayed from a lifestyle he’s desired for some while now.
“I want to come to New York and be with my family, that’s my main focus. We’ve had enough of living apart for five or six years now, and I just want to come home and be there every day. I’m not really looking for anything else anymore, I want to see my kids growing up – that’s basically it.
“So far, we haven’t been in touch with any teams, but my plans are pretty straightforward. If it’s with a New York club it would be great, but I also believe that anything on the east coast, especially, is worth travelling for.”
Being with his family was also the reason he retired from the international scene when he did. Despite rumours to the contrary, it was nothing to do with the embarrassment of losing to Iceland in 2016.
“A lot of people were speculating what might have caused it [retirement], but as simple as it is, it was just a decision for my family. I even considered retiring a couple of years earlier for the same reason.
“My wife pushed me to go on for another year, another two years, try to qualify and play another tournament… she was right and I’m very happy she did.”
Late-night TV host?
If all of that wasn’t enough, Fuchs also has aspirations of becoming a late-night US TV host. Yes, really. James Corden eat your heart out. Not that the Hillingdon boy-made-good is the Austrian’s role model. That honour falls to the incomparable Jimmy Fallon.
“I have an ambitious goal which I might never reach; to be the late-night show before Jimmy Fallon. I love his show and I want my own NoFuchsGiven late night show, or maybe I’ll be a part of Jimmy Fallon’s. It’s a dream and I just don’t give a Fuchs, so let’s see what happens.”
Affable and intelligent, there are many sides to his personality, some of which we see on social media and elsewhere, some of which is kept private.
In an age when footballers are often castigated for being one-dimensional, that’s not something that can ever be levelled at Fuchs. His social interaction always has a positive and refreshing spin too, and it’s easy to understand why his online presence is so popular. There’s a simple reason for that.
“It depends on what you want to deliver. For me, I just want to be who I am. I want to have fun, I want to engage with fans up to a certain level, and I’m not showing everything I’m doing online.
“I think it’s the right way to express yourself, to give yourself an identity that you want to be known for, but for me it definitely has limits.
“I just want to let people be a part of my life for a little bit.”