He conquered Belgium, Portugal and Russia, made his riches in China and very nearly took the greatest football prize of them all. FIFA 2018 World Cup bronze medallist Alex Witsel is a real coup for Borussia Dortmund - but how exactly did he get to where he is today? bundesliga.com finds outs...
1) Chadli's mucker
The son of a father with roots in Martinique and a Belgian mother, Witsel grew up in Vottem, a suburb of Liege, where he met best friend and fellow Belgium star Nacer Chadli. Both started out in the Standard Liege youth ranks, but only Witsel stayed the course. He made his senior debut at the age of 17, and soon became an irreplaceable part of a midfield three that featured Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour.
2) Liege legend
Witsel won the 2007/08 Jupiler League title in his first season as a pro, earning the Belgian Golden Shoe - the prize given to the best player in the Belgian top flight - for his efforts. He backed up that achievement by scoring the decisive penalty in the championship play-off with Anderlecht the following year, only for an unfortunate challenge in which he broke the leg of Marcin Wasilewski to mar an otherwise exemplary opening career chapter.