Former Germany and Bayern Munich star Mario Gómez García has confessed his admiration for Nigerian legend Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, Austrian football icon David Alaba, and Argentine hero Lionel Messi, Soccernet.ng reports.
Gómez reveals that legendary Nigerian midfielder Austin Jay-Jay Okocha was his football idol during his career.
Gómez enjoyed a brilliant professional career that spanned nearly 18 years, 11 of which he spent featuring for the German national team.
The former Bayern Munich striker won the Bundesliga three times, the DFB Pokal twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 2013.
Gómez, who also played for VfB Stuttgart, Fiorentina, and Beşiktaş, finished as the top scorer in the Bundesliga (2011), in the DFB-Pokal twice, in the Coppa Italia in 2015, and in the Süper Lig the following year.
On the international scene, Gómez was a member of Germany’s squads for three UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups.
Having made his international debut in 2007, the Riedlingen-born forward helped Germany finish as runners-up at Austria–Switzerland in 2008 and third place at Poland–Ukraine in 2012, where he was also the European Championship top scorer.
However, despite his accomplishments as a striker, Gómez confesses to Kicker that he grew up wanting to be like Nigerian midfielder Okocha.
Gómez was only eight years old when Okocha scored arguably the greatest goal in Bundesliga history in 1993, and the 38-year-old reveals he fell in love with the style of play of the Super Eagles legend.
“My childhood idol was Jay-Jay Okocha. The way he handled the ball was fascinating to me. He was like an artist,” Gómez said.
Despite sharing the dressing room with some of the game’s best players of his generation at some of the biggest clubs in Europe, Gómez was clear that David Alaba was the best teammate he ever had.
The retired striker said of Alaba: “I was impressed by his (Alaba’s) overall package; even as a young guy, he brought a lot with him and then developed exceptionally. For me, he has no weaknesses. He masters the entire program.”
Gómez also waded into the debate of who could be regarded as the greatest goalscorer of all time.
While the former German international has a special affection for a trio of Brazilian greats, he is in no doubt that Argentina’s World Cup-winning icon, Messi, is the best of all.
“Definitely Lionel Messi,” Gómez affirms.
“Even though I was always a fan of Ronaldinho, Rivaldo or especially Romario. But Messi is already in a league of his own,” he concluded.