Miroslav Klose is not a man who revels in the limelight once the final whistle has blown, yet the reserved and down-to-earth German has recently been the subject of intense media focus. Nor is it a situation which looks likely to change for the time being at least.
On Friday, Klose, who has been capped 132 times, scored his 69th international goal as the Die Nationalelf strolled to a 6-1 friendly victory over Armenia in Mainz. The strike saw him overtake the record set by the legendary Gerd Muller and become his country's all-time leading marksman.
More celebrations are on the cards this Monday as it is Klose's 36th birthday and, this year more than ever, it will be obvious why his team-mates are wishing him luck on his special day. They are hoping to see Klose reach another landmark at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, with the veteran in with a chance of becoming the highest scorer in World Cup history.
Record goalscorer sounds good. I definitely can’t complain.
Klose, who has endured an injury-laden season for Lazio, is currently level with countryman Gerd Muller on 14 goals, with only 15-goal Brazilian Ronaldo standing in way of a man affectionately nicknamed Fussball-Opa (Footballing Grandfather) by the domestic media. There is currently a great deal of speculation surrounding the role that the winner of the adidas Golden Shoe at Germany 2006 will play for Joachim Low’s side in Brazil.
“[Whether people see him as a] wildcard [selection] or not, for me there are no wildcards in this situation,” said the national team coach. “I believe that given the conditions in Brazil, we’ll need to make the most of our strength in depth. Miro is not yet back to full fitness, but he will be an important member of our squad.”
For Klose, whose recent international record was described as “sensational” by Low, the situation is crystal-clear. In typically straightforward fashion, he said: “I can imagine all kinds of scenarios. But the most important thing is to help the team however I can.”
Klose, who likes to maintain a certain level of distance even in times such as these, has always managed to shrug off the intense media hype surrounding his achievements.
“Record goalscorer sounds good," he said. "I definitely can’t complain."
However, Klose still believes that will never be on par with the legendary Muller, admitting that he would "never be in the same bracket as him."
One thing is for sure though: he will be one of the truly great players participating at the upcoming global showpiece. Boasting killer instinct in front of goal, speed and aerial prowess, all of which will undoubtedly strike fear into the hearts of opposing defences, who would back against him also bagging Ronaldo's record?