Former Germany and Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez says he will probably retire after helping Stuttgart earn promotion back to Bundesliga.
Stuttgart’s immediate return to the German top flight was confirmed on Sunday despite a 3-1 home defeat to Darmstadt in their final game of the season, with Heidenheim’s loss to champions Arimina Bielefeld meaning Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side finished runners-up.
Gomez was Stuttgart’s scorer in Sunday’s defeat to take his total for the season to seven in 24 appearances. The 34-year-old is in his second spell at the Mercedes-Benz Arena having returned to his boyhood club in January 2018.
After suffering the ignominy of relegation last season, Gomez said he wanted to help the team back into the top flight before he left. With that mission now accomplished, the striker admits he is now ready to bring his playing career to a close.
"It was my absolute goal to say goodbye here as a first division player,” Gomez told SID.
"I was sure at the beginning of the season that we will go up. So I decided that this will be my last year at Stuttgart, in Germany and probably as a football player.”
Stuttgart Sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger says he is ready to offer Gomez a coaching role at the club should the former Germany international decide to end his playing career.
"I think we owe it to him as an club and I would be glad if someone with his experience and charisma helped Stuttgart again,” said the former Aston Villa midfielder.
Gomez is a firm favourite among Stuttgart fans thanks to a hugely successful five-year spell at the club at the start of his career.
He scored 87 goals in 156 appearances, helping the club win the Bundesliga title for the fifth time in the club’s history in 2006-07 and be named German Footballer of the Year.
His goalscoring exploits earned him a move to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2009, where he would win seven major trophies including two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 2013. He left Bayern for Fiorentina in the summer of 2013 and would also play for Beskitas and Wolfsburg before returning to Stuttgart.
Gomez also scored 31 goals in 78 appearances for the German national team, representing Die Mannschaft at two World Cups and three European Championships.