The 22-year-old pulls the strings in central midfield for Schalke and is considered by many observers to be the lynchpin of the side. His hard-running style, dynamism, strength in the tackle, outstanding commitment and fantastic vision, combined with an impressive goalscoring record, have led to several clubs taking an interest in him.
Goretzka joined VfL Bochum at the age of six and made his debut for the club in 2012 in the second division. Just a year later he made the step up to the Bundesliga with Schalke, where he has consistently been a first-team regular aside from a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury in the first half of the 2014/15 season. "He's a once-in-a-century talent," said his former Bochum coach Peter Neururer.
Goretzka was included in Germany's provisional squad ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and made his debut for the eventual tournament winners, although he did not make it to Brazil.
His leadership skills were recognised in the U-21s, with coach Horst Hrubesch making him captain in late 2015. He led the side at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, but picked up an injury in the first game that kept him out of the rest of competition, where Germany finished as runners-up. "Next year he could play an important role for us," said Joachim Low.