“Lifting the trophy in Brazil was the fulfilment of a childhood dream for me. I cannot think of a better time to bring the international chapter of my career to a close.”
Miroslav Klose retired from international football with these words on Monday. Achieving World Cup glory in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain was the perfect way for the prolific striker to end a remarkable career in his country’s colours.
Miro made his professional debut for Kaiserslautern 14 years ago, winning his first cap for the national team a year later. He collected numerous honours at club level with Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Lazio before finally tasting international success this summer.
FIFA.com looks back at the legendary German No11’s career in 11 numbers.
360 - Despite being renowned for his somersaulting goal celebration, Klose has recently become more reticent in performing his trademark tumble. “You can tell that I’m getting older,” the 36-year-old told FIFA.com with a wink, having failed to complete a full 360-degree flip and losing his balance on landing after his first goal at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
137 - More than 13 years separate Klose’s first international cap on 24 March 2001 from his last on 13 July 2014. During that period he celebrated 87 wins – the same number as record-breaking German international Lothar Matthaus, who has 150 appearances to his name. The 2014 World Cup Final was Klose’s 137th international match, making him the most capped player at this summer’s tournament. Like Pele, the 36-year-old contested his second World Cup Final 12 years after his first.
71 - Klose has scored a remarkable 71 goals for his country. In September 2013 he equalled Gerd Muller’s German goalscoring record of 68 in a World Cup qualifier against Austria before becoming the outright record holder in his side’s 6-1 win over Armenia in June this year. “It’s a joke to compare me to him,” an astonished Klose said modestly when reminded of Der Bomber’s achievements. “Nobody comes even close to him. What he accomplished in terms of appearances and goals was exceptional, and I told him so personally when I met him.”
16 - Klose became the World Cup’s record goalscorer by netting his 15th and 16th tournament goals in Brazil. Miro reached the historic landmark in the semi-final against the host nation and home of previous record-holder Ronaldo. He found the net with the rebound after goalkeeper Julio Cesar blocked his first attempt, a strike reminiscent of Ronaldo’s first goal in the 2002 World Cup Final against Germany.
15 - Klose needed exactly quarter of an hour to find the target in his first international. He was brought on as a substitute in the 73rd minute of a World Cup qualifier against Albania before steering the ball towards goal in the 88th minute to seal a 2-1 win.
11 - Klose began his international career wearing the number 18, but soon switched to 11, the number he wore until retirement. Curiously, his predecessors in Germany’s previous three World Cup-winning campaigns – Karl-Heinz Metzner (1954), Jupp Heynckes (1974) and Frank Mill (1990) – spent most of their time on the bench at their respective finals and never played as significant a role as Klose, meaning the number 11 will forever be associated with the Lazio striker.
5 - Although Germany’s ‘summer fairytale’ came to an end in the semi-final against Italy at their home World Cup in 2006, Klose was awarded the adidas Golden Boot for his five goals at the tournament.
5 - In 2002, Klose was the first player to score five headers at the same World Cup – all in the group stages.
4 - Klose has featured at four World Cups and has reached at least the semi-final every time – the first player to do so. His second-place medal in 2002 was followed by third place at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments before finally lifting the trophy in Rio a few weeks ago. Klose has also scored a record four international hat-tricks.
3 - Miro made the perfect World Cup start in 2002, netting three goals in his team’s opening group match against Saudi Arabia. He received the adidas Silver Boot at the end of the Korea/Japan 2002, where Germany finished as runners-up.
1 - This summer’s triumph in Brazil marked the crowning achievement of Klose’s exceptional career. Having previously won the Bundesliga title as well as domestic cup competitions in both Germany and Italy, his final appearance in black, red and gold brought him his first international trophy.