Jonas Hector has given Cologne a major boost by refusing an opt-out clause and committing his future to the relegation-threatened club.
Cologne are in danger of being relegated from the Bundesliga as they sit bottom of the league, eight points from the relegation play-off place with just three regular-season games remaining.
On Sunday, they came back from two goals to rescue a point against Schalke to keep their faint hopes of survival alive.
Cologne midfielder Marcel Risse scored late in the 83rd minute to complete a brilliant fightback for Cologne, after they went 2-0 down in the first half.
— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) April 23, 2018
However, the best news of the week is that of a new contract. German international, Hector, has ended transfer speculation surrounding his future with the 27-year-old extending his contract for two years further until 2023.
Speaking to Cologne’s official website, Hector spoke of his commitment to Cologne and envisages his future at the club next season.
He said: “1. FC Köln allowed me to take the path from the regional league (fourth division) to the German national team.
“I am very connected and thankful to this club and feel very comfortable living in Cologne. It would have been no problem for me to switch to another club after this season, but it would not have felt right.
“We had many talks in the past few weeks and I had enough time to think about it. The decision for me is clear: I belong to FC and I want to go into the new season with this team and with these fans.”
Hector has made 17 appearances for Cologne in the Bundesliga this season winning 31 tackles, making 32 interceptions and has contributed to 57 clearances and four blocks, featuring in what is his ninth season with the club.
Football fans react to Jonas Hector’s commitment
Hector has appeared in 170 first-team matches for Cologne but has represented the club since 2010/11, playing for the reserve side in the semi-professional Regionalliga West division for three seasons.
He also been capped 36 times for the German national team, scoring three goals.
The left-back played every minute of Germany’s UEFA Euro 2016 campaign and missed just one game in Germany’s Confederations Cup-winning campaign in Russia last summer.
A host of top European clubs had been linked with Hector’s signature, including Liverpool, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Juventus.
However, the news of his new contract has left Cologne fans admiring his loyalty to the club.
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) April 23, 2018
Wow! What a man Jonas Hector is. https://t.co/V0jTuEDDA1
— Jack S. (@Tedescology) April 23, 2018
— Cengiz Tuylu (@schaengis) April 23, 2018
Jonas Hector on renewing with FC Koln: "It would have been no problem for me to join another club after this season, but it would not have felt right. The decision is clear: I belong to FC." pic.twitter.com/1wyuK5ie3b
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) April 23, 2018
What Jonas Hector did is amazing. So much respect
— Gautam Raghu (@gautamraghu23) April 23, 2018
FC Köln is going to be relegated, by Jonas Hector, one of the stars that won Germany the 2014 world cup decided to extend his contract with the team. Loyalty at its best. https://t.co/SukzBabpfD
— Jean (@jeanassy) April 23, 2018
Not all the players are loyal ?
— Mans?ur j? (@Mans_ja) April 23, 2018
Hector is destined for a place in Joachim Löw’s World Cup squad this summer and has earned praise from the German manager in the past for his intelligence and reliability on the field.
“Jonas has got a lot of depth, he really understands the game,” Löw said last March.
“He defends, attacks and passes well. He also knows when to sit back and get stuck in, and when to go forward. Above all, he’s reliable and has a cool head. We’ve even thought about playing him in central midfield.”