Austria skipper Fuchs no ordinary footballer

Paris (AFP) – Social media fiend, clothing line designer and head of a football academy in New York, Austria captain Christian Fuchs is as committed off the pitch as he is to fairytale Premier League champions Leicester City.

Signed on a free transfer from German side Schalke last summer, it’s been a remarkable journey for the charismatic Fuchs who arrived at Leicester expecting to help the club scrap for their top-flight survival.

But less than 12 months later, the left-back was uploading footage of the delirious scenes unfolding at the house of team-mate and England striker Jamie Vardy to Twitter as the Foxes completed an improbable title success.

Whether it be videos of himself juggling baby formula in a supermarket, playing ‘egg roulette’ with Leicester team-mates, or soaking Claudio Ranieri with champagne, Fuchs — whose surname translates to fox in German — is quite the dressing room character.

“No Fuchs Given”, the play on words which adorns his recently-launched fashion range, serves to underline his easygoing approach but there is nothing nonchalant about the defender’s on-pitch displays.

Signed by Nigel Pearson, who was replaced by Ranieri before Fuchs arrived, the Austrian played just 21 minutes over the first seven matches of the season before emerging as a key component of the Leicester defence. 

Fuchs has never been afraid to express himself, a trait which saw his wife Raluca, a former financial analyst at US banking giant Goldman Sachs, instantly drawn to her future husband.

“Christian is extremely energetic and active in his personal life just like he is on the field. He’s the opposite of boring,” she told AFP.

“I fell in love straight away, and even if there were lots of obstacles, it was very clear we wanted to be together.

“He’s stayed very humble, with his feet on the ground even though he’s a footballer. He knows who he is, sticks to his values and is devoted to his family.”

– NFL dream –

While Raluca lives in New York, prompting Fuchs to establish the Fox Soccer Academy in Manhattan, the left-back plans to join her and their two children once his playing days at the top approach the end.

But the Austrian doesn’t necessarily see a move stateside as the final chapter in his sporting career, with Fuchs dreaming of becoming a kicker in the NFL.

“I have this ambition to be an NFL kicker,” he told Sky Sports in April.

“If NFL managers want a footballer in their team, I know I can kick a 60-yard field goal. Let’s see, if you don’t dream you won’t achieve anything.”

However, his current focus is on Austria’s return to the European Championship with Marcel Koller’s side qualifying outright for the first time having co-hosted the 2008 edition with Switzerland.

Austria head into Euro 2016 coming off a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands in their final warm-up match and must cope with threat of Cristiano Ronaldo when they take on Group F favourites Portugal on June 18.

But Fuchs will be sure to lighten the mood ahead of their first game against Hungary in Bordeaux on Tuesday, knowing victory in their opener will relieve some of the pressure on a team considered tournament dark horses. 

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