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Pep Guardiola's Protege Is Not So Messi After All

Shortly after announcing Pep Guardiola as manager, Bayern Munich lured 20-year-old Mario Götze to the Allianz Arena. He was to be a new Lionel Messi for the soccer world. Two years later, it’s all different.

For Bayern Munich, a month long endeavor came to a close when Mario Götze, only 20 years old at the time, decided to leave Borussia Dortmund and head to Bavaria. In April 2013, the Bavarian club triggered a 37m Euro contract clause and officially signed Götze.

It was Pep Guardiola’s first new signing for his new club.

And this came at no surprise. Dubbed the “German Lionel Messi," Mario Götze had numerous similarities to his Argentine counter part. Quick acceleration, agile, difficult to stop, great vision, and excellent ball control are only a handful of things both super stars share. Added to this, both have great finishing skills and are equally good in assisting with goals.

Under Pep Guardiola, Mario Götze was bound to thrive even more and become the player everybody hoped him to become.

But, as the past two years have shown us, the story unfolded quite differently.

After two years at Bayern Munich, Mario Götze has yet to show why they invested €37m in him. After all, Mario Götze was "Pep Guardiola favorite.”

His first season at the club had ups and downs. Bayern came from winning an incredible treble in the 2012-2013 season, with Champions League, German League, and German Cup victories. Expectations for the squad, the new coach, and the new signings were high.

Although Götze scored 15 goals and had 14 assists in his first season, he often failed to be a key player on the pitch. But then again, it is not always easy to fulfil high expectations in the first year.

At 22 years old, Mario Götze would see his star rise during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Although not part of the starting XI in the Final against Argentina, Götze was brought on in the 88th minute, scoring the decisive (and dramatic) goal in the 113th minute. Germany was World Champion, Götze the highly praised hero.

But it was not he who brought Germany there. There were other heroes far more important in the German squad: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng, to name only a few.

With the World Cup victory in the bank, Mario Götze aimed to do better during his second season at Bayern Munich. Off to a promising start, the German international scored 7 goals in the first half of the season and was a key player in a Bayern side decimated by injuries.

However, the second half of the season was nothing close to the highly praised first. With only two goals, both during the 8-0 victory over Hamburg, Götze found himself more often on the bench than not. Even with Ribery and Robben injured, Götze failed to impress his head coach. All of Pep Guardiola’s anticipations were shattered by the lack of creativity and contribution from his 22-year-old protege.

And, although he was defended by his head coach after his poor spell on the pitch, criticism frequently surrounded Götze’s performances. Franz Beckenbauer found clear words during a recent interview with Sky: “He behaves and moves around on the pitch like a youth player. He just stops moving when he loses a duel. This is the behavior of a child.”

Harsh words from the Bayern and Germany legend.

If Mario Götze stays at Bayern for the 2015-2016 season remains to be seen. Rummenigge said the club will support Götze in every possible way, but at the end “it comes down to the player to take more responsibility on the pitch." With his current form and performances, Götze is nowhere close to deserving comparison to Lionel Messi. And more and more people recommend Götze to part way with the Bavarian club.

Pep Guardiola is still a fan of Mario Götze, but if his protege cannot live up to his expectations, the chapter Mario Götze and Bayern Munich might have a messy (pun intended) ending.

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