Another German national team veteran hangs up his cleats. The end for 1. Köln's Jonas Hector came in a manner consistent with his personality.
Germany's unassuming fullback made his decision months ago, but never felt the need to make it public.
|Jonas Hector.||Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
FC Köln captain Jonas Hector's last appearance for the German national team came in the final European Championship Qualifying match last November. Earlier this summer, he quietly told his club that he had no intention of accepting another call-up. The 30-year-old also communicated his retirement to Bundestrainer Joachim Löw in September.
For just about any other player, retirement from international duty would come with an announcement of some sort. Such a turn in the limelight never suited the reserved Hector, who never enjoyed being the center of attention.
Hector made 42 starts for the national team since 2014. Silently filling the boots of the retired Phillip Lahm and the revolving carousel of center-backs who took their turns playing fullback during the 2014 World Cup seemed to be his destiny. Not once in all of his caps did he even so much as see one yellow card.
While discreetly never being booked, the steady man from Saarbrücken also scored three goals and racked up twelve assists.
So quiet and unassuming was Hector that few even remember him as the player who scored the decisive penalty in the wild nine-round quarterfinal shoot-out win against Italy that saw Germany's beloved Nationalmannschaft through to the semi-finals.
Hector might have still challenged Marcel Halstenberg relatively new national team debutant Robin Gosens for the starting left back position on Jogi Löw's squad. A fight wouldn't hav been befitting of Hector's character. He silently stepped aside to make way for the next generation.