'He has not reached his potential' - Ballack critical of Dortmund forward Gotze's development

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The former Germany international has questioned whether the 2014 World Cup winner has the fighting spirit to play his way back to top form

Mario Gotze has failed to live up to his potential says Michael Ballack, but the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has found an ally in the great Luis Figo.

Gotze rose through the ranks at Dortmund and won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, before departing in acrimonious circumstances for rivals Bayern Munich in 2013.

He seemingly had the world at his feet when scoring the winning goal in Germany's 2014 World Cup final triumph over Argentina, but Gotze struggled for playing time at the Allianz Arena under Pep Guardiola and saw his career stall.

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A close-season return to Dortmund followed, but as yet Gotze has failed to hit the heights that saw him impress so much during his first spell at Signal Iduna Park and he has just one goal in nine league starts this term.

Gotze was absent as Dortmund lost their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie at Benfica through injury on Tuesday, and former Bayern midfielder Ballack has questioned whether he has the fight to rediscover his top form.

"When I see Mario Gotze, his development does not go in the right direction," Ballack told Sport Bild.

HD Mario Gotze

"He has outstanding qualities, but he has not reached his potential for whatever reason.

"His charisma is not so good, fellow players, coaches, fans and the media do not feel that he is fighting against his current situation. He's more an introvert player."

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However, in a separate interview with Bild, Portugal and Real Madrid legend Figo said Gotze is currently Germany's best talent.

"Gotze is the best German footballer," he said. "He has such an incredible talent, he can just do everything on the ball.

"I consider him to be a player with quite extraordinary abilities, I like him very much."

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