Mario Gotze insists he never considered seeking a move away from Bayern Munich before this season.
Gotze scored the extra-time winner for Germany against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final but his struggles to nail down a regular starting spot with the Bundesliga champions continued.
Now in his third season at the Allianz Arena since a controversial switch from Borussia Dortmund, the 23-year-old conceded that missing out on selection for big games “was not easy” but maintained that he is happy at Bayern.
“The last two years were certainly like a maturing process for me,” he told Suddeutsche Zeitung.
“I feel very, very happy here. I am glad to be a Bayern player.
“I would love to be a face of FC Bayern. I’ve played a good part in the first two years and I want to play an even greater part.”
He added: “I never wanted a transfer. It’s quite possibly that other clubs had interest, but I had no interest leaving Bayern.”
Gotze left Dortmund under a cloud after sitting out the 2013 Champions League final against Bayern with a hamstring injury – a match scheduled to be his last before an already sealed move to Bavaria.
The player expressed regret over that period, not least allowing a negative public perception of his transfer to develop.
“I made my own mistakes, but a lot of things that have been twisted,” he said.
“Probably the people have thought ‘He signed there just because of money. That’s not a good person’.
“Today I know – at the latest at the beginning of the pre-season in Munich, I should have explained my transfer. I should have stated my sporting reasons to end all the speculations. By doing so, it all would have ended. But I didn’t and that left room for some interpretations.”
On his absence from the Champions League final, he added: “The season ran toward its climax, all I had in my mind was the final.
“I had completely different worries than my transfer. I was hurt with my body, and then I was sad when it became clear that I could not play the final in London.”