He is the archetypal defensive rock every manager dreams of having and is widely regarded as one of the finest centre backs in the world.

Let go by FC Bayern only to become the pillar of stability at Borussia Dortmund before he returned to his boyhood club in summer 2016, Mats Hummels has made a real name for himself on the domestic and world stage. Here are just a few things you may not have known about the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner...

1) Football in the blood

Born in the western town of Bergisch Gladbach, Mats Hummels was just six when his family moved to Munich after his father Hermann, a former twelve-time Bundesliga 2 player with TuS Schloß Neuhaus, took up the position of youth coach at FC Bayern, with Mats also joining the German record champions' youth side.

2) Converted to centre-back

Mats was 14 when he came under Hermann's tutelage, but the future German star was granted no favouritism, instead spending his first few months in the side on the substitutes' bench. When he did play, he was employed as either a centre back or holding midfielder, despite starting his career as an aspiring striker.

3) Priorities straight

For Hummels, football has always come first. "We didn't use to go on holidays because Mats wouldn't want to miss a single game or training session," his mother Ulla Holthoff told 11Freunde. "Once we went skiing for a week, but he had a football tournament the day we left, so he just stayed home and joined us a day later by train. He was twelve at the time."

Hummels on holiday in June 2015.

4) Dortmund open the door

Despite catching the attention of legendary Bayern coach Herrmann Gerland and, head coach at the time, Felix Magath, Hummels failed to break into the German record titleholders' first team during his time in Bavaria. Instead of languishing in the reserves, the centre-back was shipped out on loan to Borussia Dortmund during the January transfer window in the 2007/08 campaign. Since then he has gone on to establish himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet, making over 200 appearances in all competitions, winning two Bundesliga titles and a DFB Cup before being named as the club's captain at the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

5) Surprise package

Hummels was a surprise regular in Germany head coach Joachim Löw's line-up for EURO 2012 and built a solid defensive partnership with Bayern's Holger Badstuber who, interestingly enough, Hummels had played alongside in defensive midfield at youth level when his father was still in charge at Bayern.

6) Praise from Zizou

He might be compared to Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer due to his unrivalled ball-playing ability, but for Hummels, French playmaker Zinedine Zidane was No1. Being labelled "the most positive surprise" of EURO 2012 by the 1998 World champion must have gone down very well indeed in the Hummels household.

After winning the league in 2011 and the domestic double in 2012 with Dortmund, Hummels' (l., with his wife Cathy Fischer) crowning moment came when he won the 2014 FIFA World Cup

7) All-star performance in Brazil

At the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the man who once joined Lukas Podolski on the cover of FIFA 12 featured in all six games and scored twice, including the all-important winner in a 1-0 victory against France in the quarter-finals, as Germany went on to lift the trophy for a fourth time. Dortmund's superstar defender was not only named in the All-Star XI for the tournament, he also made it into the Dream XI as voted for by users on fifa.com. "This is one of the best generations we've had in Germany," said Hummels after the 1-0 win over Argentina in the final.

8) Partner in crime

In a survey conducted by Sky Germany and the readers of Closer magazine, Hummels' wife Cathy Fischer was voted "Germany's most popular WAG 2013", and she's won another curious title: "Miss FC Bayern 2007". Fischer, who calls Victoria Beckham her idol, has been in a relationship with Mats since he was 18, and the two were married in June 2015.

9) Other side of the camera

His mother Ulla Holthoff is a well-known sports journalist and became the first woman to commentate on a football game on German television. Mats often went along to broadcasts when he was still a child and even considered working as a journalist himself. "The media is his home," explained Holthoff. "Whenever he has a match, there's at least one journalist saying, 'I remember when you were little.'"

10) Avid reader

"Mats is a bookworm," says Ulla "He read a lot - even at a young age," which might well explain the defender's smooth-tongued interview technique. "He used to read comics in particular. He got his word play from Lucky Luke and Asterix."