Many players speak about their loyalty to their boyhood clubs, and support them as passionately as the fans of those teams do. However, few have probably ever gone as far as Borussia Dortmund winger Jakub Blaszczykowski in order to help one of the sides that helped create his football career.
Having joined Wisla Krakow back in 2004 as a late teen, after previously playing in the Polish fourth division, Blaszczykowski spent two and a half years with the club – making 67 appearances in all competitions in that time.
He made his Poland debut during his time at the club, and impressed above and beyond during each season. In February 2007, he left the club to join German side Borussia Dortmund, where he truly made a name for himself.
Fast forward 11 years, and Blaszczykowski looks set to return to Wisla Krakow but in very unique and remarkable circumstances.
The Polish side – one of the country’s oldest and most successful – has fallen on hard times of late financially and faces an uncertain future. Blaszczykowski has agreed to loan the struggling club £300,000 of his own money to help the club continue to operate.
However, off the pitch help isn’t the only thing the 33-year-old has decided to offer to support his former side. Having seen his contract with Wolfsburg in Germany expire, Blaszczykowski now looks set to join the Polish top-flight side and help them on the pitch too.
Now, naturally you’re probably wondering – how is a team that is struggling financially going to manage to pay the wages of an internationally recognised winger with over 100 caps for his national side.
Blaszczykowski has stated he is not going to be receiving a wage during his time playing for Wisla Krakow.
At 33-years-old, Blaszczykowski is coming into the latter years of his career. Towards the end of his time at Wolfsburg, it was becoming clear that he wasn’t quite at the same standard as the Bundesliga demanded, and the player will have been acutely aware of this too.
That’s why it makes this transfer such a remarkable and respectable gesture. Instead of cashing in abroad in one of the money-rich leagues in China, the Middle East or the United States, Blaszczykowski has instead opted to entirely forgo money in order to help save a club close to his heart.
While no official contracts have yet been signed in the deal, Blaszczykowski has been seen training with Wisla Krakow and the move looks set to happen.
It’s a pleasing moment to see in the money-mad modern game, and one that fills me with at least a sliver of hope that not all footballers are in it for the financial rewards. For at least a handful, their passion for the game is perfectly enough.