Munich: Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Gotze wants critics to stop comparing him with Barcelona star Lionel Messi, saying that his playing style is different from the Argentine sensation.
Gotze has been sidelined since October due to a groin injury. The last match he played for Bayern was in a 5-1 win over Borussia Dortmund. He suffered the injury during Germany's European Championship qualifying game against Ireland.
The German international came into the limelight after his late winner in the World Cup final against Argentina in 2014. Germany coach Joachim Low even went to the extent of saying that the 23-year-old was better than Messi.
"Perhaps journalists began comparing me with Messi after this but that just makes no sense. We play in different positions. You would not compare a defender with a striker. They should arrange things right, which is not always done, in the context of me as a player," Gotze was quoted as saying by goal.com.
"To score in the World Cup final is not a small story, of course. Every footballer dreams of it: first to become a world champion and then even better to score in the final. This happened to me and I'm glad."
The former Borussia Dortmund player pointed out that expectations have gone up after the World Cup triumph, but insists that it is difficult for a player to perform consistently.
"After that the public expectation has again gone up, definitely. If someone has reached a certain level, it is always expected that he becomes better and better but there are also phases in which it does not run so smoothly -- and that's human," he said.
"I look primarily at my own expectations. These include improving steadily. I am doing everything to achieve that, I can assure you."
Gotze is in his third week of training as part of his recovery and he insists that he is ready to play again.
"I feel good, I am fit and in good spirits," he said.
"Anyone who was been injured for a long period can emphasise how happy you are when you are able to be back on the pitch. Of course, the match rhythm is still missing; I cannot have it yet."
"Also you have to get back the trust in your body after such a long injury but, with my third week of training in the bag, I'm just looking forward to Saturday. I'm ready," he added. (IANS)