- Former Germany striker discusses her country's recent performances
- * * Sasic part of the FIFA Legends group
- * * "There are no small teams anymore"
At the age of 27 and at the height of her powers, Celia Sasic decided to hang up her boots. There were no injuries that precipitated the retirement of a striker with a brilliant track record and, seemingly, a hugely promising future.
Two years further down the line, the German does not regret her decision: "My life has been different since I stepped down, but it's been very good. I've got a young daughter now and my days are more than full."
Sasic is part of the FIFA Legends group and participated in the most recent Think Tank meeting that was held in London ahead of The Best FIFA Football Awards. "I really like football," she said. "I watch as many games as I can. It's very emotional when I see matches with players I've played with, and I watch with even more passion. But I no longer have the stress of being down there. I enjoy it more."
Now that she observes as a fan rather than as a player, Sasic is able to offer a level-headed analysis of Germany's recent performances: "Getting knocked out of the Euros in the quarter-finals (by Denmark) was disappointing for everyone. When you're a big name, you have objectives and if you don't meet your own expectations then it's very painful.
"But Germany have a very young side now and they still don't have much experience - neither the players nor on the technical side of things," she continued. "And that's the kind of experience you can't buy. It's something you acquire over time and you can't speed things up. You have to be patient and you need to go through things, including bad times and disappointments, in order to grow and mature. That's the path Germany must follow if they're to reach the level everyone expects of them."
Celia Sasic fact file
- U-19 Women's World Cup winner at Thailand 2004
- Bronze medal winner at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008
- Women's European Championship winner in 2009 and 2013
- Golden Boot winner at the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™
- Three-time Algarve Cup winner
- 2015 UEFA Women's Champions League winner
Germany are currently top of Group 5 in European zone qualifying for the Women's World Cup in France in 2019. They have, though, lost one of their five matches so far - a home defeat to Iceland.
Sasic has faith in her successors but also offered a word of advice: "They should focus on their objective and not pay any attention to outside criticism. If they're in the German national team it's because they have the necessary talent and potential. That's the only way they'll be able to reach their maximum level. It's also important to foster a strong group mentality. Even if you have a bad game you should have the belief that you can overcome anything as a team."
Yet there were other factors that contributed to Germany's 22-year reign as European champions coming to an end. "I wasn't surprised by the success Holland or Denmark had," she said. "Those of us that have followed their progress know that it was only logical that they'd get to that level. There are no small teams anymore; all the European sides are developing incredibly."
As the interview draws to a close, Sasic reveals that she has no desire to reverse her decision to retire – despite numerous calls for her to do so. "A lot of people tell me I should play again because I'm young and am still able to," she said. "But I'm very happy with the choice I made. I like the life I have now. I like football as well but for me the chapter as a professional player is over."