With his never-say-die attitude and unshakeable will to win, FC Bayern München centre-back Holger Badstuber is the perfect embodiment of the club motto "Mia san mia".
Passion for the game
Badstuber was born in the Bavarian town of Memmingen on 13th March 1989 and was introduced to football by his father, once a talented player himself. Aged eleven Badstuber joined the VfB Stuttgart youth team before moving to FC Bayern in 2002 and boarding at their academy from the age of 16 onwards.
He signed his first professional contract during the 2008/09 campaign and made his first team debut just months later in a 1-1 draw against 1899 Hoffenheim on 8th August 2009. In a remarkable first season, Badstuber played with the composure of a seasoned professional and made 49 appearances all told, including the Champions League final defeat against Inter Milan.
Having represented Germany at every youth level, the next logical step was the senior squad and he did not have to wait long for his first call-up, as Joachim Löw invited him to the World Cup in South Africa. It rounded off a remarkable year of progress as Badstuber was rapidly recognised as one of his country's finest ball-playing defenders.
His assured performances on the domestic and international scene led to him becoming a mainstay in die Nationalmannschaft and he was integral to Germany's success at EURO 2012. However, a devastating knee injury in a league encounter with Borussia Dortmund the following season put Badstuber's progress on the backburner.
Multiple setbacks turned the injury into a personal nightmare as in his absence, FC Bayern went on to win an historic treble in 2012/13. The FIFA Club World Cup and a domestic double in Pep Guardiola's debut season followed, while Germany were crowned World champions in Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Badstuber's passion for the game is unwavering and does not end at the final whistle. "I live for the sport, 24 hours a day. When I'm at home I watch football or play it on the Playstation." The Memmingen-native made his long-awaited comeback ahead of the 2014/15 campaign - 594 days after tearing his cruciate ligament - and, with Guardiola referring to him as "the best defender I've worked with" in training, the centre-back could be on course to return to his former glories in the coming season.