Mario Gotze: Be a creative spark

Fall in love with the ball

“I have two brothers, and growing up we were always playing football, as much as we could, anywhere we could. I’d always work on my first touch, moving the ball and looking for that next pass, trying to see spaces and opportunities to create space. I practised using both feet. When you’re comfortable with the ball at your feet you change direction sharply to get rid of an opponent. As a playmaker you need to express yourself on the pitch in order to be creative in the final third.”


Save your energy

“I sleep a lot. Recovery is important because we play twice a week, so the manager puts a lot of emphasis on preparation before a game. I live with my brother in Munich and having him around helps me relax. Yoga and other training exercises also keep me relaxed and focused. I listen to hip-hop music before the game, which helps me concentrate on what I need to do. Everyone knows what to do so we don’t discuss the game plan in the changing room; we’re ready to play.”


Find your zone

“Each individual has to be in the right zone to create a piece of magic under different states of stress and calm. Being too tense doesn’t work for me – I try to visualise myself playing well before the game. This helps me stay relaxed and focused during the match. Being in control of your emotions and channelling your energy towards the task will help you to perform at your best. Focus on what you want to achieve and find a state of mind that works for you.”


Play your own game

“Football is so quick. The key to keeping up with the pace of the game is preparing as a team in training. But when it counts, you need to have the vision and confidence to play your own game. You have to be prepared as an individual first and foremost, and not worry about the opposition. When you change your game, you’re not being true to the type of player you are. When this happens, you lose focus and create problems for yourself.”


Stop the ball dead

“The first touch is the single most important thing in football – especially for the type of player I am. Controlling the ball with your first touch and thinking about how to make the next move will make a difference to your game. The game moves so quickly, you need those extra seconds to do something special. Defenders are now as quick as midfielders or strikers, so quick decision-making and a good first touch can make the difference between winning or losing.”


Dare to be different

“Possession is key to winning the game, but at some point you have to take risks to create opportunities and score. Someone has to dare to play a killer pass. A big part of being a playmaker is having the vision to change the game. Draw defenders out of position to allow your attackers to find space. Move the ball quickly; never allow the opposition to defend without having to compromise their shape. Your players must be interchanging positions at all times.”


Mario Gotze wears the Nike Magista boot, featuring a Dynamic Fit collar silhouette and Nike Flyknit technology for unprecedented fit, feel and control. Find out more

For more football tips see:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Make something happen
Gareth Bale: Terrorise the defence
Lucas Moura: Dribble the Brazilian way
Accelerate and beat your man like Messi
Angel di Maria on the art of wing play
Andres Iniesta: How to boss the midfield
Yaya Toure: Dominate the middle of the park
Jack Wilshere: How to keep possession

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