Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who capped a record-breaking career with the national team by winning the World Cup last month, has retired from international football.
Poland-born Klose, who scored twice in the tournament in Brazil to become the competition’s record goal-scorer of all time with 16 goals, said Monday the time was right to end a 13-year career with the German national team.
The forward is the second member of Germany’s World Cup winning team to quit after the tournament; the first was captain Philipp Lahm last month.
“Winning the title in Brazil was a childhood dream come true,” the 36-year-old Lazio striker said in a statement released by the German football Association.
“I am happy and proud to have contributed to this big success for German football. For me there could be no better moment to complete the national team chapter.”
Germany’s second-most-capped player behind Lothar Matthaeus made the first of his 137 international appearances in 2001 and went on to become the top German scorer of all time, with 71 international goals.
He broke Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old record of 68 goals in June.
Germany’s only out-and-out striker in the World Cup squad, Klose was initially benched in the tournament, but earned back his starting spot and scored once against Ghana in the group stage and then again in their 7-1 semifinal demolition of hosts Brazil in the semifinal.
The latter goal also meant he overtook former Brazil striker Ronaldo on the World Cup scorers list.
“When I met up with Miro last week he told he me he had thought long about it and talked to his family,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “I immediately sensed that his decision was irreversible and that I cannot convince him otherwise.
“You can always count on Miro to keep his word and that was the case in Brazil as well. I have a lot of respect for Miro’s decision as well as for his unbelievable national team career that is all but impossible to trump.
“As player and a human being, we will be missing Miro and I am happy and grateful to have been allowed to work with Miroslav Klose.”
Tall and strong in the air, Klose is known for his superb timing and leaping ability and has been consistently efficient in front of goal, helping Germany reach two finals and two semifinals in the four World Cups he played in.
A lethal finisher, Klose was a relatively late starter for Germany, after playing no role in any of the country’s national youth squads. He went on to play in four World Cups, starting in 2002, and also competed in three European championships.
Klose and Lahm will be honored before Germany’s friendly game against World Cup finalists Argentina on Sept. 3 but neither will feature in that game, as per their own requests, DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said.
“Miro is not only an outstanding player but as man he is an absolute role model,” Niersbach said. “In all the years he always remained modest and with his feet on the ground. We will stage a proper farewell for him and Philipp Lahm in Duesseldorf and we will respect their wish, which has been agreed with Loew, that they not play against Argentina.”