Andre Schürrle won the World Cup, Premier League and DFB-Pokal during his playing career but, as Alasdair Hooper writes, his retirement serves as a reminder that an individual’s happiness is the most important thing.
Andre Schürrle had a big part to play in Germany’s World Cup win in 2014.
The then-Chelsea winger was the man to provide the assist for Mario Götze’s winning goal in the final, a strike that brought unrivalled joy to a country that loves its football.
He also scored Germany’s final two goals in that incredible 7-1 victory over Brazil.
But six years later, in July 2020, Schürrle retired from professional football at the age of just 29.
So, what happened to the footballer who played such a crucial role in that 2014 World Cup?
Back in 2013, the winger joined Chelsea with plenty of potential and an impressive reputation thanks to his time at Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz before that.
The fee that brought him to London was thought to be in the region of £18million and he eventually bagged his first goal for the club in an October win over title-rivals Manchester City – a positive start.
His first season was decent without being spectacular – scoring nine goals in 43 appearances in all competitions – but it was that summer in Brazil where Schürrle’s football really did the talking as he helped his country become world champions.
Following the World Cup triumph, Schürrle’s time at Chelsea soon came to an end as he only lasted half a season in his second campaign.
He fell down the pecking order under José Mourinho and moved back to Germany in February 2015, joining Wolfsburg in a £22million deal.
There he was reunited with a certain Kevin De Bruyne who had made the exact same transfer – from Chelsea to Wolfsburg – the year before. Of course, we are all aware what Kevin De Bruyne is doing these days.
Back in England, Chelsea would go on to win the Premier League and – by virtue of playing 14 games in the first half of the season – Schürrle received a winner’s medal. Within the space of a year, he had become a Premier League champion and a world champion.
After scoring just once in his first half a season in Wolfsburg, the German international went on to have a more productive second campaign, scoring 12 times in 41 appearances.
He earned himself a move to fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in June 2016, reuniting him with his former Mainz manager Thomas Tuchel, but much of his time was spent as a squad player and struggling with injury.
After making just 51 appearances in two years, the winger returned to the Premier League on a two-season loan to Fulham but couldn’t help them stave off relegation that year. As a result, that loan deal was cut short and he was instead loaned to Spartak Moscow in July 2019 for a year.
Once he came back to Dortmund his contract was mutually terminated a year before it was due to come to an end and Schürrle promptly announced his retirement from professional football. It came as a shock to many.
Explaining his decision in an interview with Der Spiegel, the former star said that despite all the money he had made in football, he often felt lonely, especially when the “depths became deeper and deeper, and the highs less and less”.
Despite Schürrle calling time on his career earlier than expected he did retire as a World Cup winner, a Premier League winner and a two-time DFB-Pokal winner. Regardless of how you look at it that can certainly be deemed a success.
It’s also perhaps a reminder to us all that, as much as we love football, an individual’s happiness is the most important thing.
You can follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992