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'What an asshole!' - Draxler reveals the Schalke abuse that shaped his career

21:00 GMT+3 25/11/2019
Julian Draxler Schalke 2014
Even as a teenager, the Paris Saint-Germain attacker was not spared any hard truths while breaking through in the Bundesliga

Julian Draxler is a man used to criticism. 

From a demanding father to his own drive to succeed, the Germany international has often been forced to face less than kind assessments of his performances face on. 

As an emerging talent at Bundesliga side Schalke in 2011, the abuse inevitably came thick and fast for Draxler as he looked to establish himself in a side then boasting Real Madrid legend Raul. 

Now at Paris Saint-Germain, where criticism is also never too far away, Draxler admits the slack he copped at Schalke was difficult to take as a teenager, but something that has enabled to him to take on board feedback more positively since. 

"Schalke was not an employer for me like any other," Draxler told Goal and DAZN.

"There were many eyes on me. When we lost, I did not just hear from the fans that I was sh*t, but from my neighbours, my family, and my family's friends. 

"For example, I was at my uncle's birthday. At the party was someone, who attends every Schalke game, suddenly telling me what an asshole I am.

"That's just the way people speak in the Ruhr area. Since you do not mince words. At the moment, people do not care if you are only 19 years old and still in the development phase.

"At the same time, people have a very good sense of whether you are really 100 per cent present on the course or whether you have a fuss in your head.

"Initially, as a teenager, you tend to take on a defensive posture and you're thinking, 'What are you trying to tell me? I already know how things work'. But in retrospect, you realise that people were mostly right."

While Draxler struggled to escape criticism, he did make a positive early impression at Schalke, scoring an extra-time winner as a 17-year-old against Nurnberg in the DFB-Pokal.

Looking back, it is a moment he believes has had a ripple effect on his entire career. 

"That was Hollywood," he said. "Three days ago I had given my debut as a starter in Hannover. It was not a very special game, I did not play well, but it was pretty cool because we won 1-0 and it was my first win with Schalke. And then Nurnberg. After that, nothing was the same in my life as before.

"I have thousands of memories about it. You will never forget such an experience. Today, when I look at the interview I gave after the match, I hardly recognise myself.

"At that moment I did not know where to go with me and tried to be professional. But I was 17, I would have liked to hug the cameraman.

"The next day I was supposed to go to school, and I said, 'I'm not going to school.'  The goal changed everything."