World Cup - Loew's secret message inspired Goetze to eclipse Messi

Germany manager Jogi Loew whispered words of encouragement to 22-year-old Mario Goetze as he prepared to send him on as a sub in the World Cup final.

World Cup - Loew's secret message inspired Goetze to eclipse Messi

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Germany's Mario Goetze after the FIFA World Cup Final


"I said to Mario Goetze, 'okay, show to the world that you're better than Messi, show that you can decide the World Cup,' " Loew said.

Such words might seem the crackpot ravings of a manager piling far too much pressure on a young player who has perennially been no closer than the fringes of the squad.

But Loew knew exactly what he was doing.

"That's what I told him, and I had a good feeling," Loew grinned. "Goetze is a wonder boy who has these immense abilities, this outstanding skill. He can always decide a game and he scored a great goal today."

That much is matter of record:

Loew's feeling was more than a hunch: the young striker isn't just exquisitely talented on the pitch - he also has that unique ability to steal the limelight. Rather like football's other Super Mario: Balotelli.

And like Balotelli, Goetze's fledgling career has already been packed with controversy.



- When he first emerged as a star player at Borussia Dortmund, he was quickly dubbed the 'German Messi' - and the press asked him what he thought of the label. Quick as a flash came his answer: "I don't want to be Messi, I want to be the Cristiano Ronaldo of Germany."

- Last summer, when still just 21 years old, Gotze made a contentious €37 million move from boyhood club Borussia Dortmund to rival Bayern Munich. It was seen as an unforgivable betrayal by Dortmund fans, who showed their feelings with some of football's greatest ever banners, including one which read "The pursuit of money shows how much heart you really have. F*** off Gotze!"

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- Perhaps trying to show he doesn't care about money after all, Goetze turned up to his first Bayern Munich press conference wearing a Nike shirt - the problem being that Bayern is both sponsored and part-owned by Adidas. Hasty apologies all round quickly followed.

- Goetze 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.

- In just five years as a pro he has already won three Bundesliga titles, two DFB Pokal (German Cups), the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and the World Cup.


"I'm more than happy. And I'm happy with the team and what happened here in Brazil. I guess it's more or less indescribable how I feel. It is absolutely sensational... It’s an unbelievable feeling, I don’t know how to describe it. I just took the shot and didn’t know what was happening. It’s unbelievable. For us, the dream has become reality. I’m very proud of the team and extremely happy about everything that happened in Brazil. Every player in our team deserves named here and we’re very proud to have won this trophy."

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A huge talent, and an unforgettable goal, but realistically Goetze has a long way to go before he can talk about being in the same bracket as Ronaldo or Messi. And yet he has already eclipsed both of those players by becoming the key man in a World Cup final. They might have crumbled under pressure in every major tournament since 1996, but Germany showed once again that they are the ultimate big match nation - and Goetze's show-stopping cameo after nearly two hours of football typified their blend of technique, determination and focus.

As for Messi? His chance to go down as an all-time great appears to have gone. Like a world record sprinter without an Olympic gold, or a serial-winning golfer without a Major championship victory, he has shown that repeated glory on a lesser stage just doesn't cut it when the long-term view of history is taken.


Twitter, predictably, got itself in lather after the match as Goetze celebrated with his girlfriend:


"Germany prevailed because of the hard work put in by the Deutsche Fussball-Bund since 2004 in transforming its youth-development structure, in calmly preparing inexorably for nights like this. It built football centres for kids, built up a reservoir of talent which saw Goetze come off the bench, and built towards a fourth World Cup. A stellar team now has a fourth star to go on that famous white shirt. Goetze’s goal was a worthy winner of any final, a wonderful take of Andre Schuerrle’s cross on his chest and then hooked finish past Sergio Romero. Such a splendid World Cup required a fabulous end." - Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph


Real Madrid, stung by Barcelona's recent coup in signing Luis Suarez, will be rumoured to be considering an £80 million offer to sign Goetze from Bayern Munich - Bayern will refuse to play ball, and a new saga will begin. Yes, with the World Cup out of the way, it's time for the transfer window to become the main focus of football for the next six weeks. May God have mercy on our souls...

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