Max Meyer was once regarded as one of the most precocious and exciting midfield talents on the continent, but he has failed to hit the heights of his role model and 98 cap Germany international, Michael Ballack.
It’s often easy to forget that footballers, like everyone else, have a life away from their place of work.
Plenty of players avoid making their presence felt in the public eye and that naturally contributes to the aforementioned false perception, but Meyer spoke to Crystal Palace TV this week in a refreshing interview with Chris Grierson, as per Youtube.
The former Schalke prodigy, who joined Palace on a free in the summer, opened up about veganism, his move to England and the 2006 World Cup amongst other things.
While discussing the 2006 World Cup, which was hosted by Germany, Meyer revealed (01:30) that Ballack, the German captain for the competition, was his favourite player at the time.
“My favourite player was Michael Ballack. He was my role model. He was a perfect player for Germany, he was the captain and he was my favourite player.”
As role models go, Ballack is a phenomenal talent to aspire to.
Considering Meyer is now 23 and struggling to cement his place in Roy Hodgson’s starting XI, it’s fair to say that he has a mountain to climb if he wishes to emulate the success of the 2010 Premier League title winner.
However, he could learn a lot from his role model’s box-to-box style of play and ability to regularly find the back of the net for club and country.
Meyer’s positional transition from a number ten to a number six has been the defining narrative in his career during the past eighteen months, but perhaps he needs to strike a balance between the qualities needed in both of those positions in order to realise his huge potential, just as Ballack did during his esteemed career.