Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Götze has revealed that he was suffering from depression throughout the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a tournament which immortalised him in German football history.
The then 22-year-old star started three of Die Mannschaft's opening four games at the tournament, but after being hooked at half-time against Algeria, Götze picked up just seven more minutes during the quarter-final and semi-final combined.
He went on to score the winning goal in the final against Argentina after coming off the bench, but Götze has explained how events earlier in the tournament left him struggling with depression in the build-up to Germany's match at the Maracanã.
"People talk about that World Cup, and my goal in the final, and I think they forget how s*** that tournament was for me until the very end," Götze wrote on The Players Tribune.
"Now, everyone forgets that I was subbed off at halftime against Algeria in the round of 16. But I don’t forget. I didn’t start in the quarter-final against France. I didn’t play at all in the semi-final against Brazil.
"I wish I could say that I was mature about it, but I was probably the saddest I’ve ever been in my life. There were no positives I could find. Before the final, I was really depressed.
"It was not possible to see what was coming. You know, people talk about the goal, the goal, the goal. For me, the goal is the least important part of it.
"The goal is just the consequence of a decision I made in my hotel room to stop being depressed about how things were going and focus on training as hard as I possibly could before the final.
"The goal was part luck. The manager could have decided not to bring me on as a substitute. He could have used many other players. André Schürrle might have decided not to cross the ball to me in that position. He was barely looking.
"The ball might have fallen a bit differently in the box. One meter to the left or to the right. The keeper might have got a hand on it. When it hits my chest, maybe I am in a negative mindset. Maybe I don’t believe. Maybe this never happens.
"That goal is more than a dream. But the thing that gave me the most joy was how I handled the days before the match. I was the lowest I’ve ever been in my career, and three days later, suddenly I am the hero, and we are world champions."
In Götze's piece, which acts as an open letter to Borussia Dortmund fans, the Germany international goes on to explain the reasoning behind his move to Bayern Munich in 2013, as well as what life was like under Jürgen Klopp at the Westfalenstadion.