World champion and footballing great Miroslav Klose has announced his retirement from Germany’s national team. “Lifting the trophy in Brazil was the fulfilment of a childhood dream for me,” said the 36-year-old. “I’m proud and happy to have been able to contribute to such a great achievement for German football. I had a unique and wonderful time with the national team and enjoyed many unforgettable moments. I’ve used the past few weeks to let all those moments sink in once more and to savour them. I cannot think of a better time to bring the international chapter of my career to a close,” said Klose.
The striker scored two goals at this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil to bring his overall tally in the competition to 16 and surpass the previous record of 15, held by Brazilian legend Ronaldo, to become the all-time leading World Cup goalscorer. Klose’s 71 strikes for Germany also make him the highest-scoring player in his country’s history, ahead of Gerd Müller with 68 goals.
"The team’s success is and has always been my highest priority”
"The team’s success is and has always been my highest priority," Klose explained. "I and the rest of the national side achieved our greatest aim – an aim we shared as a team – but I’ve also reached other targets I set myself along the way. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very ambitious. I’m a striker, and a striker’s job is to score goals. I was always focused on giving my best for the team rather than setting records. As a striker, I’m also extremely dependent upon my team-mates, which is why I want to give a huge thank you to my colleagues on the national team, without whose passes I would never have been this successful," said the player. "I’d also like to thank the DFB, its president, every single member of the national side’s support staff, all our fans and of course the three national team coaches I’ve been able to work with over the past 13 years – particularly Joachim Löw, who has always had total belief in me. I felt this complete mutual respect and appreciation once more during our discussions over the past few days. It’s fantastic that we were able to end our collaboration by winning the [World Cup] title."
Klose’s international career began on 24 March 2001 in Leverkusen when he was brought on against Albania as a substitute for Oliver Neuville in the 73rd minute, only to score 15 minutes later to secure a 2-1 win. The Lazio striker played at four World Cups and three European Championships, winning a total of 137 caps during his 13 years as an international. Only Lothar Matthäus has made more appearances in a Germany shirt, with 150 caps to his name.
National team coach Joachim Löw: When I met with Miro last week, he told me that he had given his decision a lot of thought and had discussed it with his family. I immediately realised that he had made his decision, that it was irreversible and nothing I could say would change his mind. Miro Klose is a man of his word and someone I have always been able to rely on; this was true once again at the World Cup in Brazil, where I knew he would be in top form when it mattered most. Miro was already in the national team when I joined the DFB as assistant coach in 2004, so we have now spent ten years working together. He is an international star and one of the greatest strikers ever to grace a football pitch. His aerial strength, presence in the penalty area, understanding of the game and tireless commitment are without equal, and yet I have rarely encountered a player so down-to-earth, modest, fair, professional, reliable and team-spirited. For Miro, it was always an honour to be called up to the national team and he gave his all for Germany. I have the greatest respect for his decision and for a remarkable international career that is unlikely to ever be surpassed. We will miss Miro both as a footballer and as a person. I am happy and grateful to have been able to work with Miroslav Klose.
DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach: Miro is not just an excellent player but also an exemplary person who has remained modest and grounded for all these years. With his 71 international goals, including 16 at the World Cup, he has set two phenomenal records and written his name in the history books. I am also personally delighted that he has been able to crown his fantastic career with a World Cup title. We will make sure to give him and Philipp Lahm a worthy send-off in Düsseldorf and respect the wishes of both players not to be selected against Argentina as agreed with Jogi Löw.
DFB General Secretary Helmut Sandrock: As a world champion and record-breaking goalscorer, Miro Klose will go down in history as one of our greatest-ever strikers. He has also shown how players can continue to perform at the top level well into their mid-30s and has always remained sportsmanlike despite also being a fiercely competitive athlete.
National team manager Oliver Bierhoff: It is strange to think that Miro will no longer be a part of the national side. I played alongside him at the 2002 World Cup before working with him in a management capacity from 2004 onwards. His attitude, commitment, character and sporting quality made and continue to make Miro an exemplary footballer and a role model for professionalism and humanity both on and off the pitch. His achievements and goals speak for themselves and his consistency is unparalleled. After working together for 13 years, it only remains for me to say “Thank you for everything, Miro”!