Football star Sami Khedira takes a new Porsche Panamera on a Stuttgart road trip
Life’s all about exploring, says the sporting icon
Man sits in a Porsche Panamera with door wide open
Join the former international footballer as he drives the new Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid around his home town to visit three locations that helped shape his career
In a glittering career, footballer Sami Khedira has won many of the biggest prizes in his sport. He’s been part of league title-winning sides in Germany, Spain and Italy, while in 2014 he won the World Cup with his national team, Germany.Now, Sami – who retired from the game in 2021 – is heading back to his home town of Stuttgart on a nostalgic road trip. For Sami, life is all about making bold decisions. So it seems only natural to retrace his rise to fame at the wheel of a car whose daring spirit so closely resembles his own. Join him as he drives the new Panamera, stopping off at three locations in his home town that have played a significant role in his career.
Man getting out of a Porsche Panamera outside German school
Sami Khedira had a storied 17-year professional football career but he says it really all began here as a boy, when he moved to the Linden-Realschule in Stuttgart
Back to school: life at Stuttgart’s Linden-RealschuleEver since he was born, Sami knew he was destined to play football. Growing up with a ball at his feet and attending football games with his father, no other potential career even came close. “Football was my passion,” says Sami. “But as soon as it became clear that I could do it professionally, I had to decide – do I start training hard or leave it as a hobby?” Sami, as we all know now, took up the challenge.Sami’s first big move on the ladder to the top of his sport was transferring to Linden-Realschule in Stuttgart, which at the time was a partner school of his home town club, the Bundesliga side, VfB Stuttgart. “Going there was a compromise and also a big step,” says Sami, reflecting on his formative years. “I was able to train more – sometimes up to seven times a week – but my school performance suffered. So did my relationships with my classmates.”At times, he says, it was a move that felt like he was giving up his youth. Instead of going out with friends, Sami had to focus all his efforts on training and improving his footballing skills. These decisions were to be some of the first of what would be many tough but necessary choices he’d make throughout his career. “All professional sport is about trade-offs,” says Sami as he gets out of the Panamera and walks across the car park of his old school. “But moving to Linden-Realschule was a step that convinced me that I could become a professional footballer.” He has certainly come a long way since then.
Man sitting in stands overlooking an empty football stadium
Sami began his career at VfB Stuttgart, his home town team, helping them to win the Bundesliga title in 2007, before moving to Real Madrid in 2010
Kick-off: how Sami’s pro football career began at VfB Stuttgart’s MHPArenaThe next stop on Sami’s Porsche Panamera road trip around Stuttgart is to MHPArena – or the Neckarstadion as it was formerly known. In reality it’s only a few minutes’ drive from the school to the 60,000-capacity stadium, but it represents years of hard work on Sami’s part. Sami has a calm grip on the steering wheel as he makes his way to the stadium, along a road bordered by railway tracks on one side and the rolling Neckar river on the other. Man and machine seem made for each other.Sami takes a seat in the empty stadium on his arrival. It’s midweek and the ground is eerily quiet without the electricity of a live game taking place. The only thing Sami has for company here today are the rows of grass-growing lights lined up across the verdant green pitch.It was at this ground in October 2006, aged just 19, that Sami made his home Bundesliga debut. It would prove to be a memorable season for both the talented young midfielder and for VfB as it ended with Sami and his teammates winning the Bundesliga title. “The stadium has been remodelled since then, but the spirit here remains the same,” he says. “For me, the arena will always be associated with happiness, childhood, but also with growing up.”
Sami Khedira and green Porsche Panamera at Stuttgart Airport
Stuttgart Airport is a place that Sami associates with taking bold decisions, like answering José Mourinho’s call to join one of the biggest football clubs in the world – Real Madrid
On the move: from Stuttgart Airport to MadridSoon, he’s back in the driver’s seat of the Panamera once again for the last stretch of this special journey down memory lane. For the parting shot, Sami takes us to Stuttgart Airport – a place he fondly remembers as the gateway to what would become a global football career. Inside the airport’s glass terminal building Sami pauses at the Kiss and Fly zone. This is where, after 15 successful years playing for the youth and senior teams at VfB, Sami left Stuttgart to become a ‘galáctico’ – one of a team of star international footballers at Real Madrid. It was another bold choice from Sami – who would later go on to play for another of the world’s great football clubs, Juventus in Italy – and the perfect denouement to our tour through Sami’s Stuttgart history.“Nowadays I spend more time at airports than at home,” says Sami. “But when I first started playing football it was my gateway to the big wide world.” When José Mourinho [head coach at Real Madrid when Sami signed] called him, he made the decision to fly out to Madrid to join one of the biggest football clubs in the world.“I was leaving my home town for the first time and heading out on my own,” recalls Sami. “I was scared. But I had to do it because you probably only get an offer like that once. Revisiting these places today makes me think what else can I do? It’s why I choose to keep my adventure going.”
Man sitting at the wheel of a Porsche Panamera
For Sami, life has been mapped out by the bold decisions he has made
What does Porsche mean to Sami?For all his fame and success, Sami continues to keep his feet firmly on the ground. His drive around Stuttgart in the Panamera, this return to his roots, has allowed him to reflect on the things that Porsche and himself have in common. “I think we’re both very down-to-earth,” says the footballer, who eventually retired from the game in 2021. “We’ve both coming from a not-so-big-city called Stuttgart, but we’ve both had a successful global career. And we’re still going at it. We’re recognised and loved all over the world. That’s something that really connects the two of us.”Just like Porsche, Sami is not afraid to explore the world and take influences from all over to make him better, to develop and improve. “That’s what unites us – the Porsche brand and me personally,” he says. “For me, it’s a perfect match.”
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