Loyalty means nothing in football.
One minute they’re kissing the badge, the next they’ve signed for your arch-rival and unfollowed you on Instagram.
Not Jonas Hector though.
You might recognise him as the player linked with Liverpool every transfer window.
You might be an ardent follower of German football in which case you’ll be aware of Hector’s typically consistent form since recovering from injury earlier this season.
Either way, you’ll likely be watching the left-back start for Germany at the 2018 World Cup finals.
Which makes the fact that he’s just signed a new Cologne contract all the more special.
The 27-year-old has committed his future to the club through to 2023.
What’s so special about that? Cologne are likely to be relegated to the second tier of German football as they currently sit bottom of the Bundesliga.
Hector could have his pick of top European clubs but has instead decided to stay with Cologne, even waving his opt-out clause that would have been activated as soon as relegation was confirmed.
It’s a refreshing move, and one that could even signal the end of his international career given his main rivals will all be playing top tier football.
Marvin Plattenhardt is at Hertha Berlin while Marcel Halstenberg was impressing at RB Leipzig before a knee injury struck.
So where does Hector’s love for the club come from?
Cologne plucked Hector from SV Auersmacher and the obscurity of the German fifth tier in 2010.
He then spent three years honing his craft in the fourth tier with Cologne’s reserve side before making the ‘step up’ to second tier football with the first team during the 2012/13 season.
Hector was a first-choice starter for Cologne during the 2013/14 season which ended in promotion to the top flight.
The following campaign he was called up to the German national team, winning the first of 36 caps.
After four seasons in the Bundesliga it looks like he’ll be adjusting to life in the second division again as of next season.
But Hector isn’t the first German international to take the plunge and keep swimming. In fact he’s not even the first Cologne player to do so.
Lukas Podolski was relegated during his first full season at Cologne, made Germany’s Euro 2004 squad and still stayed to help the club earn promotion back to the Bundesliga in 2005.
In 2008 Joachim Low called Cologne striker Patrick Helmes up to the national team following a prolific season in the 2. Bundesliga.
Around the same time Borussia Monchengladbach pair Oliver Neuville and Marko Marin, both of whom were playing in the second division, were also called up.
The German for loyal is loyalität. Clearly it still means something in German football.
Why can’t all footballers be like Jonas?
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