Lothar Matthaus has hailed Mario Gotze's decision to fight for his chance at Bayern Munich rather than request a transfer.
Gotze has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool, who are coached by his former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp.
But the Germany international claimed earlier this week he has no intention of leaving Bayern and is ready to impress new head coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Matthaus believes the 23-year-old's comments are proof he is maturing and does not want to take the easy way out after a number of difficult years at Allianz Arena.
"I don't know whether there was indeed an offer from Liverpool," Matthaus told TZ. "But why would he join a club that do not even play in the Champions League?
"He would have taken the easy solution with a move to Liverpool. But the easy solution is not always the right solution.
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"Mario has shown with his latest comments that he is ready to fight for his place. This whole situation will only make him stronger. I applaud his decision to stay put. He is finally standing up for himself. He is taking his career in his own hands at last.
"He is not taking the easy way out, but is taking on the challenge. He wants to show Bayern what he can do. I have waited for this for quite some time. This is a sign that he is getting mature.
"I don't think he is looking to leave on a free transfer in 2017 and earn a big signing fee. He has already made enough money. He did this because he wants to show Bayern he is a player of the highest level."