Julian Draxler is only 28-years-old but it seems his career is petering out already.
The German is at one of the best sides in Europe – Paris Saint-Germain – but has started just five Ligue 1 matches this season.
‘Bit-part’ perfectly sums up the role the attacking midfielder has played for the French club in the last three seasons.
QUIZ: Can you name the footballer based on their Wikipedia page?
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Early in his career, Draxler was touted as one of the biggest talents in European football.
As a 19-year-old at Schalke, Draxler took the Bundesliga by storm during the 2012/13 campaign. He scored 10 goals in 30 appearances as he helped his side finish 4th and qualify for Champions League football.
At the end of that impressive season, he was naturally being linked with a whole host of top European clubs. However, he signed a new contract at Schalke until 2018 with a hefty release clause. He turned down advances from English and Spanish clubs in the fear it would harm his chances of playing at the 2014 World Cup.
But before he headed off on his summer holidays in 2013, Draxler starred in legendary striker Raul’s testimonial – the Spaniard having spent two brilliant years at the German club.
Raul had scored 40 goals for Schalke but was set to join the Qatari side, Al Saad. Before doing so, he played in one final match for the Bundesliga team against his future club.
The 36-year-old scored twice in a 9-0 win for Schalke and his first goal went viral immediately. Not because of his finish or anything but because of Draxler’s insane assist.
Many of you may well remember the assist but we just wanted to reminisce because it’s still one the greatest we’ve ever seen – and we’ve watched a lot of football!
The 19-year-old beat three Al Saad players inside the penalty area in a tight space before using his right heel to chip the ball off his left foot and into the path of Raul, who did the rest.
VIDEO: Julian Draxler’s incredible assist for Raul
When Julian Draxler provided Raúl with this incredible assist on his farewell match for Schalke 🔥 pic.twitter.com/w5i4WON7iq— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 18, 2022
After the clip was posted by ESPN on Twitter last week, there was a lot of reaction from football fans. Some of them had never seen the assist before – while others simply felt sad that Draxler’s career hasn’t reached the heights it should have done.
After the game, Draxler told Bild: “Glamour and a bit of magic – that goal fits Raul’s career.”
Meanwhile, Raul urged the youngster to stay at the club before making a big move.
“Jule would be well-advised to stay here for one or two more years,” Raul told reporters after the game. “And then I trust him to make the switch to a big club, be it England or Spain. My preference, of course, is Real Madrid.”
What happened to Julian Draxler?
That’s not quite how it panned out for Draxler, unfortunately.
He did remain at Schalke for the next two seasons but he couldn’t replicate the form he showed in the 2012/13 season. That resulted in a somewhat sideways move to Wolfsburg for a reported fee of €36 million plus add-ons, becoming the replacement for Kevin De Bruyne who joined Manchester City.
Draxler attempted to restart his career but couldn’t quite replace the void De Bruyne had left behind.
He did perform well enough to earn a €42 million move to Paris Saint-Germain in January 2017, though.
While he was a regular for the first couple of seasons at the Parc des Princes, he’s since been reduced to a substitute thanks to the numerous incoming stars.
Draxler hasn’t played for Germany since 2020 – he has 56 caps to his name – and it seems he’ll never fulfil the incredible potential he once had.
What an assist though…