Marco Reus: It's time to shine
An exuberant Marco Reus tries to go for a tackle but ends up twisting his ankle during an international friendly, limping off the field, with agony. That was the moment he knew, his World Cup dreams were over. Cometh the final whistle after a gruelling final against Argentina, Mario Gotze would hold a No.21, a lovely gesture to his former team-mate and friend.
However, it would just be the beginning of an injury-marred career, that would see him miss several games, including the Euro 2016. From being compared to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery, for his attacking exploits, he was soon compared with Daniel Sturridge and Abou Diaby, for he had spent more time on the sidelines than on the pitch.
Even as he recovered from one injury blow after another, he kept impressing whenever he got on, getting linked with every European club for the past 4 years, only to don the glowing jersey on the backdrop of a setting sun, at Westfalenstadion.
Questions were asked if he was just unfortunate or really injury-prone, to the extent that some even writing off Marco Reus, suggesting a sad downward spiral to a 'career that could have been'
WIth a total of 60 games missed in just the last two seasons, it indeed seemed like the road was it for Marco Reus. Between all these injuries is a career that shows a forward, when fit, is easily one of the best in the world.
In just 233 appearances for Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga, he's netted 99 goals and assisted another 63, often playing as a winger or a secondary striker. His performances at the Champions League would be the envy of many stars, with a return of 16 goals and 13 assists in just 30 games. At the international level, making his debut at 22, Reus has 29 caps so far.
In 2018, he's managed to score 7 goals in 11 games for Dortmund, a terrific return for someone who had been sidelined for nearly 6 months since the DFB Pokal final in 2017.
In the European qualifiers, Reus has 5 goals and 4 assists in just 6 games, showing the world what he can do, when he is fit and firing. Joachim Low clearly recognises that and has jumped at the first opportunity to have him in his team.
The goalscoring onus on this star-studded team would fall on 3 players. The young RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, the ever-reliable Thomas Muller, and Marco Reus.
Reus is a big-game player and it does not get bigger than the World cup. His pace, dead-ball abilities, and his long-range stunners make him the most dynamic forward for Germany. With the talent in the squad, Reus can be replaced like they showed at the World Cup but what Reus brings is something unique, which will help Low in innovating the squad in a bid to conquer the world once again.
Apart from his mercurial talents as a footballer, Reus brings something else to this Germany team. Because Reus is more than what the extraordinary numbers tell. He is more than what his goals and assists suggest. Reus transcends beyond the statistics.
He's the poster boy of modern day football.
In a time, when one-hit wonders and flash in the pan players have sought a big-money move away from a club that made them, Reus has struck with Dortmund through all times, wearing the armband with pride.
He paired with Robert Lewandowski and wreaked havoc and when the latter left for Bayern, he forged an incredible connection with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, recreating the magic for the fans to cherish.
Lewandowski, Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and even the young Ousmane Dembele have all moved to top clubs in recent seasons, which he could have easily engineered if he wanted to.
But this is Marco Reus.
An anomaly to modern day transfer business,
He's the epitome of loyalty. He's stood by Dortmund even as they flirted in the relegation zone in 2015.
He's a lone warrior and a brave captain, who has inspired young dreamers with his passion, grit, and determination. Whether he decides to leave the Wesfalenstadion or to hang up his boots there, he will always be a Knight in shining armour for the Dortmund faithful, who will chant his name, every time he steps unto that pitch.
As he finally begins to take the onus of his national team at the biggest level, one thing is sure. He does not need to do it alone this time. He has his entire team behind him, and millions cheering for him from the stands and the screens.
At 28, a first appearance at the World Cup might just be the ushering of a new era for one of the modern-day heroes in football, who has deservedly got his reward for his resilience.
And as for the injuries? Don't even think of coming anywhere near Marco.
As a matter of fact, let everything including the blazing sun take the sidelines for once.
For, it is Marco Reus' time to shine.