Bundesliga club Wolfsburg presented striker Mario Gomez on Thursday in a transfer deal with Italian club Fiorentina, under a three-year contract running until mid-2019, with the German international saying he is as hungry as ever to succeed.
The 31-year-old Germany international returns to the Bundesliga after leaving Bayern Munich for Fiorentina in 2013. Previously he had played for Stuttgart and Bayern from 2004 to 2013.
"The hunger has perhaps been never as great," Gomez said at a press conference with club officials in Wolfsburg about his ambitions in returning to the Bundesliga, where he has already enjoyed titles with both Stuttgart and Munich.
Gomez cautioned that he is looking at his tenure at Wolfsburg in terms of the goal he has set of helping the club to return to international European competition.
"Our goal is Europe," he told the press conference before he was to join his new team-mates at his first training session in the afternoon. But, "if Europe is not reached" then he and the club would sit down again in a year's time.
Further details of the terms of his salary or the transfer fee were not divulged. The mass-circulation Bild had reported that Wolfsburg obtained him from Fiorentina for 7 million euros (7.7 million dollars).
Wolfsburg sport director Klaus Allofs said "we are more than thrilled that we were able to convince Mario" to join the team, which last season finished eighth in the Bundesliga, failing to qualify for any international European competitions this season.
After an injury-plagued 2014 season with Fiorentina, Gomez was loaned out by the Italian club to Turkey's Besiktas last season, where he returned to form, scoring 26 goals in league play to lead the Istanbul club to the title.
His strong showing also earned him a nomination back in the German national team, for whom he had played at the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European championships. Amid his injuries in 2014, Gomez was dropped from the German team that went on to win the World Cup in Brazil.
Returning to the national team, he scored two goals for Germany at Euro 2016 before a thigh injury knocked him out of action.
In his 68 matches for Germany, Gomez has so far scored 29 goals.
Gomez, who grew up in Germany the son of a Spanish father and German mother, recently said he did not wish to return to Istanbul amid the political uncertainty and tensions after the failed coup attempt in Turkey.
Meanwhile sport director Allofs said that with the signing of Gomez, the club would no longer try to gain Italian national striker Simone Zaza from Juventus. The club had been holding talks with the 25-year-old, with Juventus reportedly demanding 25 million euros.
Allofs said it was not the money alone. But now with Gomez in Wolfsburg's ranks, "it would not make any sports sense" to try to sign up Zaza. However, the club was still looking at possibilities before the August 31 transfer market deadline, he said.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 05:05
Saturday, September 10, 2016 - 20:26