“The football I grew up playing is no longer there. Today all the players care about is their cars, their shoes and their names on it. For me football was all that mattered, nothing else.”
A statement that sounds very disturbing, doesn’t it? Not much different from that old man who would change your attitude if you met him from afar, lest his daily paragraph begins with glorifying his past and ends with cursing your present.
But when Miroslav Klose says these words in explaining his decision to retire, he means them. It is not only an attempt to attract the attention of the youngest, and to fantasize about a past that they did not see, only that he finds an advantage in his early birth.
Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and others, among others, a historical generation that ended long years of chasing, and lifted the 2014 World Cup.
Sorry for starting the story from the end, but in 2014, Miroslav Klose was the only German on the list who did not come out of the heart of the German junior association system.
While you see Pedri prove his worth as a key player in Barcelona before he turns eighteen, and you see Mbappe invading France before he concludes his adolescence, you can see the value of a keen eye and a sponsoring system for young people in the speed of the emergence of players on the scene, and thus the length of their careers.
Today, Erling Haaland is compared to the best strikers in history and tops the list of top scorers in the world’s strongest leagues at the age of only 22 years. Do you know where Klose was at that same age? Barely making his way through the amateur competitions, he made his Bundesliga debut with Kaiseslautern.
“I can’t imagine someone going through the same path as me these days. There are a lot of scouts now, I don’t think talented players can fall through the cracks anymore.”
This is the good side of the present prosperity, and the bad side is the rise of other values above football. Perhaps here lies the key to answering the question: How can the historic World Cup scorer not be famous for the least accomplished players in the history of football?
Get the Lord out of your lies
Klose did not have a distinctive haircut or an eye-catching luxury car. He hasn’t dated several models and he hasn’t made a fuss off the court.
He did not even have those charming dribbles that the followers are waiting for, all he was good at are some boring qualities: scoring goals – mastering the movement towards crosses and directing them with the head – the quality and timing of movement to steal defenders – dedication and not laziness.
Maradona is a legend that does not accept doubt, but we know very well that his bad sides never gave him the deserved penalty as a bad model, but rather contributed to digging his legend more into the hearts of his fans, and lovers of bizarre situations in general.
Certainly you cannot attribute everything to her, if he was not super talented, his behaviors would have killed him before he was born, but at the same time, if you try to dismantle this myth, you cannot go unnoticed by the “hand of God” incident, when he deceived the referee and scored the famous goal with his hand. Against Argentina.
With luck, this goal was in front of an opponent over a historical hostility with his country in football and politically, and therefore the people might have stoned Maradona if he had chosen not to cheat in such a situation, and in complete contrast, no one found the slightest resentment in accepting his emotional justification and considering this goal as a divine retaliation for a war Falkland Islands.
Let’s be more frank, you – most likely – will not admit that you scored with your hand in a pentathlon that was rented by a group of friends for two hours, not because you lack honesty, but because – most likely – you will also not be spared the cries of your colleagues, “Uncle Sheikh”. The football field may be the only place where religiosity turns into a charge, but Sheikh Klose didn’t care.
In 2005 with Werder Bremen, Klose got a penalty, but he saw that the decision was not correct, so he went to the referee and rejected it.
The next accusation after “Uncle Sheikh” is that “you will not find anyone to applaud you”, but Klose did not only find someone to applaud, but someone to give him a fair play award at the end of the season. The strangest thing, of course, is that he wasn’t looking for that applause in the first place.
“It is a great honor for me to receive this award, but I am a little upset. For me this is something you should always do and I will do again.”
The German did not lie. The years passed and places, shirts and even countries changed, and he remained the only constant.
In the Italian league with Lazio in 2012, Klose scored a goal with his hand against Napoli, so he turned to the referee directly and admitted this, to cancel the goal and receive a yellow card, and a handshake of appreciation and respect from the referee.
Once again, the man won the same award that annoyed him 7 years ago, and his answer was more boring than the previous one:
“The referee asked me if I had touched it with my hand and I had no problem answering yes. There are a lot of youngsters watching football on TV, and we have to set an example for them.”
Therefore, when a man tells you that football is not what it was in his time, you must believe him even if you disagree with him. He’s not trying to suggest anything to you, he’s just saying what he thinks is true.
And he wins..
Klose began his professional career practically in 2000, and received the first international call-up in 2001, and therefore his first World Cup was 2002.
And quickly and without waiting, and in the famous eight match, Klose scored a hat-trick against Saudi Arabia, followed by a goal against Ireland and then another goal against Cameroon, and thus he returned from the first participation with 5 goals.
In the same version, the phenomenon Ronaldo scored two goals and cried the Germans in the final, raising his score to 8 goals as the top scorer of the tournament, bringing his total to 12 goals, equaling the legend of his country Pele in third place.
After a goal from French Just Fontaine (13), and two goals from German historical top scorer Gerd Muller (14), Ronaldo was waiting for an opportunity to break the number in the next edition, the 2006 World Cup in the heart of Germany.
In the group stage against Japan, Ronaldo scored the first goal to equalize Fontaine, then scored the fourth to defeat him and equalize Muller.
Finally, on the twenty-seventh of June 2006, Ronaldo realized the last chance and scored the fifteenth goal in total against Ghana in the round of 16, to break the number in the city of Dortmund, before one match of Zidane’s most famous show that finished off Brazil, and with him Ronaldo withdrew from the international scene Forever.
On the other hand, Klose scored two goals against Costa Rica, and likewise against Ecuador, he followed them with a fifth against Argentina, reaching 10 goals completely and perfectly.
The adventure of the Germans ended in the semi-finals at the hands of the Italian champion, but Klose has already found himself among the historical scorers of the tournament, only Ronaldo (15), Muller (14), Fontan (13) and Pele (12), Hungarian Sandor Kochis and German Jurgen Klinsmann (11) ahead of him.
6 names, 6 goals to pass them all, and at 28 years old there is still time, one copy, maybe two.
In South Africa in 2010, the wait did not take long, a goal against Australia put him with Cochis and Klinsmann on an equal footing, then a goal against England knocked them out and transferred it to Pele.
In the quarter-finals, Klose scored two goals against Argentina, with Pele and Fontan falling together with one kick, reaching 14 goals equally with Muller.
The adventure did not continue, as it was on a date with the famous header of Carles Puyol in the semi-finals, as if the overthrow of Germany had become one of the conditions for the coronation in the third millennium: Spain won the World Cup for the first time in its history.
One goal separates him from Ronaldo’s equation, and two goals separate him from the number alone, but by 2014 the age meter will reach thirty-six.
After the 2010 World Cup, Klose was not at his best, as he scored one goal in 20 Bundesliga matches, and eventually did not reach an agreement with Bayern Munich regarding the renewal, to reach Lazio, and an eye on the goal.
October 2011: “If everything goes well, I hope to play for Lazio until 2014 and appear in the World Cup and then I will finish my career.”
August 2012: “If I stay healthy and continue to be active, the 2014 World Cup will be the end of my career for the national team. My health and physical strength will determine whether I continue to play at club level.”
The man continued to stay fit and united as much as possible until the moment came: the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The search for the equalizer did not take long, as he scored against Ghana during the group stage to officially equalize Ronaldo, and he chased that last goal until the end of the last chance.
The goal was delayed, he did not score in the round of 16 or the quarter-finals. These things cannot be controlled, of course, but if it were up to Klose, he would not have written a better ending for himself than this..
July 8, 2014. A black history in the pages of Brazilian football. A night that an entire people will not forget, in which Seleção lost the opportunity to reach the final at home, in which the Germans humiliated him with seven goals at home, and in which Klose broke Ronaldo’s number in front of him and at home.
After an early goal from Thomas Muller in the 11th minute, Klose became the top scorer in the World Cup with the second goal in the 23rd minute, but to be honest, the Brazilian fans did not have enough time to grieve for that, by the 29th minute, the counter reached a white five.
Thus, he wrote to Miroslav everything he wanted with his country except for embracing the world title, and no matter how much this record was worth, it was not worth much in front of losing the cup in the final again.
“Before Mario came for me, I told him, ‘You can make it happen.'”
Klose started his last battle against Argentina on the grounds of the Maracana, and continued until the 88th minute in a match without goals, moving steadily towards extra time, until he left and Mario Gotze came in his place.. The rest is for history.
“By winning in Brazil a childhood dream came true. I am proud and happy to have been able to contribute to this great success. I had a unique and wonderful time full of memorable moments with the Germany national team.”
And I closed the curtain…