Kevin-Prince Boateng made headlines earlier this year following his stance against racism, and now his arrival has transformed German side Schalke's campaign.
Back in January, a footballer did something far more important than simply kick a ball. In fact it was his decision to do the opposite that prompted plaudits and discussions across the world, as he left the field following racist abuse from the stands.
During his time in England, Kevin-Prince Boateng was known as something of an enigma. But earlier this year he became the unofficial spokesman for a game in need of repair, until Fifa took notice and made him the inaugural member of their anti-discrimination task force.
But it is not just his impact off the pitch that appears to be considerable. Since his move from Italy to German side Schalke 04, his very presence appears to have turned their form on its head.
After taking just a single point from their opening three league games, the Bundesliga side have won both matches since Boateng’s arrival – with the Ghanaian scoring the goal in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Mainz 05.
Speaking after that match the 26-year-old said, “The fans have been sensational in welcoming me. Now I hope we can maintain our momentum going into the Champions League.”
It is in that competition that the midfielder will come up against Chelsea later this year, but for now he is almost single-handedly transforming the season of a German giant who looked fated to be felled before his arrival.
Of course the change is not simply down to one man, and the likes of Julian Draxler and Jefferson Farfan have played a considerable part. But the announcement that Boateng had signed for Schalke appeared to immediately lift a gloom that had smothered their early campaign.
In contrast to those first few weeks, they are now eighth and very much on the up.
When Boateng first left Milan, it was claimed he did so to leave the racist chants behind. But the midfielder went on record to dismiss those claims.
“I don’t leave a country and lump all inhabitants together only because 10 people shout ignorant slogans,” he told Kicker magazine.
But whatever his reason for leaving, Schalke are extremely grateful to have him. And still only 26, he has plenty of time to make even more changes, both large and small.