Remembering Mario Gotze ran to get a picture with Lionel Messi after 2014 World Cup final

Mario Gotze & Leo Messi

Whenever people reject Lionel Messi as the greatest footballer of all time, his failure to win a major trophy at international level is a subject that pretty much always comes up.

The Argentina superstar is a six-time Ballon d'Or winner and his country's leading scorer but his only national team triumph came at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Since then, Messi has come agonisingly close to winning a trophy with Argentina, suffering multiple Copa America final losses and, of course, the 2014 World Cup final defeat.

Mario Gotze broke Argentinian hearts when he came off the bench and volleyed home a superb 113th-minute winner to give Germany a 1-0 win over Messi's men in Brazil.

It doesn't get bigger for a player than scoring the goal that wins your country a World Cup final, yet Gotze had Leo Messi on his mind straight after his history-making moment.

Gotze wins 2014 World Cup for Germany

Mario Gotze's left-footed finish after a lovely cross from Andre Schurrle saw Germany become the first-ever European side to win the World Cup in South America.

Shortly after the Germans were crowned world champions for the fourth time, then 22-year-old Gotze posted a picture of himself with defeated Argentina captain Lionel Messi.

Gotze's photo with Messi after final

The photo, in which Gotze is wearing his World Cup winners' medal, was uploaded to the midfielder's Instagram account and had a pretty accurate one-word caption: "Genius".

Gotze referred to Messi as a "genius" and, when explaining the story behind the picture in a TV interview, the talented German admitted he had asked the Argentine to take a photo with him.

"If I am honest, I was in a conference room and I had won the medal for Man of the Match," Gotze told German show Audi Star Talk a few months after the final, via Daily Mail.

"I saw him (Messi) from behind and went running after him to get a picture, so it was actually the other way around (I asked Messi)."

Goetze kisses the World Cup trophy

Gotze also revealed the way in which he approached the Barcelona magician, given the fact that Gonzalo Higuain and Messi himself had missed good chances to score at the Maracana.

The then-Bayern Munich playmaker, who has since returned to Borussia Dortmund, continued: "I think everyone who plays football knows what it's like to miss a goal or lose a game.

"You can't always win. That's why you know how to go about (it) with someone in that situation. The best thing to do is leave him alone."

The now-27-year-old added: "I don't think you can ever find the right words, there isn't really much you can say."

Messi consoled by Angel di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi after the 2014 World Cup final

It's worth mentioning that a lot of players wouldn't have even considered posing for a photo with a victorious opponent after a World Cup final, but Messi was nice enough to do just that.

The 32-year-old was awarded the 2014 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball but we all know he'd swap that prize in a heartbeat if it meant he could lift a major trophy with his country.

It says something about Messi's influence on football that, in the greatest moment of Gotze's entire career, he felt he couldn't squander an opportunity to grab a picture with the icon.

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