Borussia Dortmund star Mario Götze has revealed what went on behind the scenes after an imminent move to Bayern Munich was leaked before the summer transfer window in 2013, including his parents being placed under police protection due to the fallout.
Götze's switch to Bavaria appeared to be set in stone ever since he broke through at Borussia Dortmund, but it wasn't until the two clubs agreed on a £33m fee some four years after his Bundesliga debut that he joined Germany's most successful club.
Details of his move to the Allianz Arena were released before the end of the season, and Götze has explained how he "didn’t understand the consequences" of making his dream move to work under Pep Guardiola.
"Bayern had approached me the previous year, and I decided not to go. But when Pep Guardiola was announced as the new manager, and I was approached again, I didn’t know what to do," Götze wrote on The Players Tribune.
"I made the decision to go, and I didn’t understand the consequences. A few weeks later, we had police staying outside my parents’ house for protection.
"Two days before we played Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal, the news came out that I was leaving in the summer.
"I understand the reaction now. I do. For a lot of people, football is more than a game. But at the time, it was shocking.
"The whistles and the banners from our own fans... I could deal with that, personally. But my younger brother was 14 at the time, and he was being confronted in school. People were saying things to my mother. There were threats made to my family on the Internet.
"It was the most difficult time in our lives, but it’s hard to say that I regret it.
"It is hard for me to say that going to Bayern was a mistake, because I did learn an incredible amount about football from Pep.
"It was extremely difficult leaving Dortmund, but if I don’t make that change, if I don’t go to Bayern, does the World Cup happen in the same way?"
Götze only spent three years at Bayern Munich before returning to Borussia Dortmund, having made 114 appearances and won seven major honours with the club.