Germany World Cup hero Goetze – without a club – honoured by region
COLOGNE – Germany World Cup hero Mario Goetze – currently without a club at the age of 28 – has been honoured for his charity work by his local state of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW).
Goetze scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina but his career has nosedived since and he left Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season with the club not interested in renewing his deal.
He was awarded the state's order of merit at a ceremony in Cologne on Sunday.
"Goetze has long been drawing attention to the difficult situation of children all over the world and motivating others to get involved themselves or to donate money," NRW State Premier Minister Armin Laschet said in a speech.
Goetze is involved in several school construction projects, supports a football programme for girls in Brazil and cares for sponsored children in Senegal, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The boot with which Goetze scored the 2014 winning goal also raised €2 million ($2.4 million) for charity at a fundraising gala, where Goetze donated €450,000 to children in Laos.
Goetze has been linked in the media with a move to Monaco. Reports said he has told Major League Soccer's Inter Miami that he is looking to continue his career in Europe.