Mario Gómez: An Ode to Germany’s Analogue Legend Who’s Bowing Out in a Digital Age
It’s name which has struck fear into defences for almost two decades. But the Germany legend is entering his last few months with his boyhood club VfB Stuttgart and the 34-year-old might not sign another contract again.
Gómez has enjoyed an incredible career where he’s scored 314 goals for club and country, but in trying to get Stuttgart promoted from Germany’s second division, the veteran forward has been cruelly out of touch in modern football.
He’s still scored six goals in the league for Stuttgart, which makes him their joint-top goalscorer, but Gómez’s most notable moments in 2019/20 have actually come when he’s found the back of the net, only for his strikes to be ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee.
In the first half of the season alone, Gómez had an impressive six goals ruled out by football’s new technology, including a hat-trick(!) which was chalked off by VAR against SV Sandhausen.
They were all correctly ruled out, of course, even though Gómez unsurprisingly called those decisions “bulls***”.
And although the infamous Mario Gómez button has been pressed more than a few times since he returned to Stuttgart, this season has highlighted exactly why the once great Germany striker should probably hang up his boots this summer.
Stuttgart are far from the youngest team in Germany’s second division. Holger Badstuber and Gonzalo Castro have found their way to the Mercedes-Benz Arena after being left surplus to requirements at bigger clubs, but Gómez has stood out as a fibre-optic Fagin.
With Nicolás González and Silas Wamangituka providing the excitement in the final third, Gómez’s legendary style has been caught out all too often by VAR and the Stuttgart legend has largely found himself holding the club back.
As expected, Gómez still pops up with some clutch moments. Stuttgart haven’t lost this season when the 34-year-old has found the back of the net, but the club are looking to move in a new direction and the former Germany international will sadly have to be left in the past.
Sven Mislintat has been brought in as their sporting director and Thomas Hitzlsperger is also involved behind the scenes, but the 2007 Bundesliga champions trendy new trajectory will only be made a reality if they leave the analogue Gómez behind.