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'Messi? I want to be Germany's Ronaldo'

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'Messi? I want to be Germany's Ronaldo'
Photo: DPA
11:09 CEST+02:00
Dubbed "The German Messi," Mario Götze is one of Germany's most promising football talents. He has shocked Borussia Dortmund fans by announcing he would play for rivals Bayern Munich next season, making him The Local's German of the Week.

The Ruhr Valley club's fans reacted angrily when news broke on Tuesday that Götze will be joining Bayern on July 1 after making use of a release clause in his contract - a deal reported to be worth €37 million. That will make the 20-year-old shooting star the most expensive German player of all time – but the Bavarian heavyweights clearly think he's worth it.

Bayern's living legend Franz Beckenbauer has even compared the dazzling attacking midfielder to Lionel Messi, widely considered the best player in the world. But Götze apparently sees himself following in the boots of another star.

"Me, the German Messi? No, I want to be the Cristiano Ronaldo of Germany," Götze told the Spanish sport newspaper Marca last month.

Whether he still wants to mimic the Portuguese midfielder after Dortmund dominated Ronaldo and the rest of Real Madrid in a Champions League semi-final match on Wednesday night, is unclear. But Götze's stellar performance did help assuage the pain of his surprise announcement that he would be defecting to rival Bayern.

Borussia Dortmund's coach Jürgen Klopp praised the club's fans after the anticipated angry backlash to Götze's controversial move failed to materialize. While the Signal Iduna Park stadium announcer hurriedly read out the names before kick-off, giving fans little time to boo or jeer Götze, the midfield star drew little reaction from the 65,829-strong crowd.

"I wasn't sure, but I hoped the fans would respect him and that's what happened. They were great," said Klopp. "The most important thing I said to him was that people won't forget that he is going to Bayern, but that the club is behind him. He is a young guy and he has to go his own way."

Götze supplied the pin-point accurate cross which Robert Lewandowski scored the first of four goals for Dortmund. He played his part in the historic win which leaves Borussia on the verge of their second Champions League final appearance, having won the 1997 title.

"It was an incredibly good game from him, I hadn't expected it, but he delivered it," Klopp said.

After the Bayern bombshell dropped earlier this week, Klopp said he had known about Götze's intentions for some time.

Born in Memmingen in Bavaria, Götze's father moved the family to the Ruhr Valley to work as a professor at the local technical university. Though he has played for Dortmund since he was just eight years old, Götze reportedly doesn't want to miss out working with Bayern's incoming coach Pep Guardiola, who led Barcelona to the pinnacle of European football a few years ago.

Germany national team coach Joachim Löw, who gave Götze his first appearance for Germany as an 18-year-old in October 2010, is sure to be including the creative midfielder in his plans for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"Mario is cool, when he's on the pitch, he forgets everything else," Löw told German broadcaster ZDF.

German football fans – all of them except for Bayern supporters – are trying to console themselves by the knowledge Götze won't be heading off to play in England, Spain or Italy next year. But his departure will be a huge loss to Dortmund, who are 20 points behind champions Bayern in the German league having won the last two Bundesliga titles.

The Local/AFP/mry

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