Miroslav Josef Klose (German pronunciation: [ˈmiːʁoslaf ˈkloːzə]; born 9 June 1978) is a German retired professional footballer who last played as a striker for Italian club Lazio and the German national team. He is currently a member of the German national side's coaching staff.
Klose is best known for his performances with the German national team. He was part of the German squad that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup, having previously finished second (2002) and third (2006, 2010) in the competition and as runner-up in Euro 2008. He is the top goalscorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup, having scored five goals in his debut World Cup in 2002 and having won the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup in Germany by again scoring five times. He also scored four times in the 2010 World Cup and twice at the 2014 World Cup, which put him ahead of Ronaldo in the all-time list with 16 goals. Klose is also the top scorer of all time for Germany, who never lost a game in which Klose scored. He retired from Germany's national team on 11 August 2014 shortly after Germany's victory at the 2014 World Cup.
At club level, Klose has been a less prolific but usually reliable goalscorer. Starting his career at FC 08 Homburg, he played in the Bundesliga for Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich, and in Serie A for Lazio. He won two league titles with Bayern, along with cup competitions at Bayern, Werder Bremen and Lazio.
Background and personal life
Klose was born in the Silesian city of Opole, Poland. Both of his parents were professional athletes. His father, Josef Klose, was a professional footballer who played for Odra Opole, before leaving communist Poland in 1978 to play for French team AJ Auxerre. His mother, Barbara Jeż, was a member of the Poland women's national handball team. As an ethnic German and German national, Josef Klose was an Aussiedler whose family had remained behind when Silesia was awarded to Poland after World War II and decided to bring his family to Germany. In 1986, then eight-year-old Miroslav joined his father in Kusel, Rhineland-Palatinate, knowing only two words of German. Klose developed his skill and passion in football from the village club, SG Blaubach-Diedelkopf, which at the time was in the German seventh division. He was also trained as an apprentice to become a carpenter.
Klose and his wife Sylwia have twin sons, Luan and Noah. In a 2007 interview with Der Spiegel, he stated that he and his wife speak Polish to their children at home, while the children learn German in school. Klose has not held Polish citizenship since the age of eighteen, as he then opted for a German passport.
Klose is a Roman Catholic.
In 1998, his career in the professional game began when he was 20 with a switch to the reserves at former Bundesliga outfit FC Homburg. Twelve months later, he moved to FC Kaiserslautern. He played for the second team, and made his first appearance in Bundesliga in April 2000. He scored 16 goals in 2001–02 season and was shy of only two goals to become the top scorer.
In March 2004, Klose signed a four-year contract with German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen for a fee of €5 million ($6.2 million). He made his league debut on 6 August 2004, as a substitute for Paraguayan striker Nelson Valdez in a 1–0 home win against Schalke 04. On 29 August 2004, Klose scored his first goal, an equaliser, but the Bremen team lost 2–1 at home against Wolfsburg.
On 7 June 2007, Klose confirmed that he would leave Werder Bremen for Bayern Munich either before the 2007–08 season or upon the expiration of his contract with the Bremen team at the end of the 2007–08 season.
On 26 June 2007, FC Bayern Munich's club president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed that his team had reached an agreement with Werder Bremen regarding the transfer of Klose to the Munich team. Klose completed his medical with Bayern on 28 June 2007 before signing a four-year contract.
Klose won the first major honours of his club career at the end of his first season with Bayern, as they won the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal in 2007–08. In 2010, he won the 2010 German Super Cup; scoring a goal in the 81st minute.
On 7 June 2011, with his contract about to expire, Klose did not reach an agreement with Bayern Munich, thus leaving the club at the end of the 2010–11 season. He had scored one Bundesliga goal in 20 matches in his final season.
Klose signed a three-year contract with Lazio on 9 June 2011. He scored his first goal for Lazio in UEFA Europa League 2012 Play-offs and also assisted four other goals. Lazio won that game 6–0 and won the play-off 9–1 on aggregate against Rabotnički. On 9 September 2011, he made his league debut in a 2–2 draw against Milan and scored a goal in the 12th minute, which was the first Serie A goal of the season. Despite having been at the club for only a few months, Lazio coach Edy Reja already underlined his importance to the team. On 16 October 2011, Klose scored in the 93rd minute to win the Rome derby against A. S. Roma 2–1 for Lazio. However, the occasion was tainted by a small section of radical Lazio fans holding a sign adapted from a motto used by the Nazis. The sign read 'Klose Mit Uns', which means 'Klose with us'. It was intended by those fans as praise for Klose; however, the Nazis used the motto 'God with us' and the Lazio fans' sign featured the 'S's in the same font as the logo of Adolf Hitler's SS. Klose had explicitly condemned the sign, adding that 'politics should stay out of the stadium'.
On 10 December 2011, Klose scored twice and assisted one for Lazio in an away game against Lecce, including an 87-minute goal that gave Lazio a 3–2 victory.
On 2 September 2012, Klose scored his first Serie A goal of the season, scoring a brace in Lazio's 3–0 home win against Palermo. On 26 September, Klose accidentally scored a goal with his hand against Napoli for Lazio, not seen by the referee. However, Klose showed great sportsmanship by informing the referee and asking to discount the goal. The referee then reversed the decision and the goal was discounted.
On 2 December, Klose scored his ninth goal of the season, securing a 2–1 victory over Parma, lifting Lazio into fourth place in Serie A. Two weeks later on 15 December, he scored a late goal to send his side to a 1–0 victory over second place Internazionale, reducing the gap between the two sides to one point. On 5 May 2013, he scored five goals against Bologna before being substituted for Louis Saha in the 68th minute. It was the first time since the 1984–85 season that a player scored five goals in the same game in Serie A.
On 26 May, he won the Coppa Italia beating Lazio's city rivals Roma 1–0, the sixth in Lazio's history and the first time in the history of the tournament to see a Lazio-Roma derby in the final.
Klose started the season by playing in the 2013 Supercoppa Italiana against Juventus, which ended in a 4–0 loss at Stadio Olimpico. Klose started the league season by playing 83 minutes in team's opening league match of the season, a 2–1 home win against Udinese and scored his first goal of the season on 31 August in a 4–1 away defeat to Juventus. He netted his second league goal of the season on 28 October during the 2–0 home victory against Cagliari.
Klose played his first match of the season for Lazio in the Serie A against Milan in which they were defeated 3–1. He scored three goals and set up two other goals in the first half of the season in sixteen appearances in the Serie A. He also scored one goal and set up another for Lazio against Bassano in the only Coppa Italia match he played before the winter break. They went on to win the match 7–0. In the second half of the season, he scored 10 goals and set up 5 in 18 appearances, ending the season with 13 goals and 7 assists in Serie A, along with 3 goals and 2 assists in the Coppa Italia in six appearances.
On 15 May, Klose scored his final goal for Lazio from a penalty on his final appearance for the club, on the final matchday of the 2015–16 Serie A season, in a 4–2 home loss to Fiorentina. With his 64th goal for Lazio, he equalled Goran Pandev as the club's highest non-Italian goalscorer of all time, and ended his Lazio career as the club's 7th highest all-time goalscorer.
Klose's consistency as a goal-scorer in his first Bundesliga season at Kaiserslautern earned him attention. In January 2001, the then coach of the Polish national team, Jerzy Engel, travelled to Germany to persuade Klose to choose to play for Poland. This request was declined by Klose, who said that "I have a German passport, and if things are still running this way, I have a chance to play for Rudi Völler." Klose's hopes were justified, as he would soon score for Germany.
In an interview given to Przegląd Sportowy on 9 June 2008, Klose stated that the decision to play for Germany instead of Poland was not an easy one, and if Polish officials had been faster, he would be playing for Poland. Furthermore, he added that he does not regret the choice, as with Germany he has won medals in the World Cup tournaments.
2002 World Cup
Klose's international debut came on 24 March 2001 in a World Cup qualifier against Albania; in the 73rd minute coach Rudi Völler put him in as a substitute. Two minutes from time he headed home the winner in a 2–1 victory for Germany, and celebrated with a front-flip. Four days later, in his second match, Klose helped Germany temporarily lead their qualification group, as he came on in the 67th minute and scored in the 3–2 win against Greece in the 82nd minute, making it two crucial goals in only 33 minutes on the pitch. Two hat-tricks against Israel and Austria in friendlies prior to the upcoming World Cup were enough to establish him in Germany's starting line-up for the tournament.
Klose came to international prominence at the 2002 World Cup in Korea-Japan with five headed goals for Germany, finishing joint second highest goal scorer along with Rivaldo. He became the first player ever to score five headers in a World Cup, and he celebrated two of his goals with his trademark front-flip, earning him the nickname "Salto-Klose" (German: Salto = somersault). His goal tally included a hat-trick in Germany's 8–0 hammering of Saudi Arabia, as well as one goal each against Ireland and Cameroon.
Klose also participated in Euro 2004 and came on as a substitute in two games, against Latvia and the Czech Republic, but was not completely fit, since he had just recovered from a knee injury. He was not able to score and Germany went out in the first round.
2006 World Cup
In the opening match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Klose scored two close-range goals in a 4–2 win over Costa Rica, and added a similar brace in the final group game to defeat Ecuador 3–0 and make Germany the group winners.
He scored an 80th-minute headed equaliser against Argentina in the quarter-finals, and Germany won the resulting penalty shootout. With five goals, he finished as the top scorer of the tournament.
In the main tournament, Klose started the opening group game against Poland and assisted Lukas Podolski's two goals in a 2–0 victory. He played the remaining two group games against Croatia and Austria with no goals of his own. He finally broke his duck during the knockout stages, scoring for Germany in the quarter-final and the semi-final against Portugal and Turkey respectively. In both games he scored Germany's second goal, and both games were won 3–2. He was, however, unable to score during the final against Spain, which Germany lost 1–0.
2010 World Cup
Klose was selected in Germany's final 23-man squad, and for his third successive World Cup campaign. On 13 June, Klose scored the second goal against Australia in their opening group game, a 4–0 victory. This goal put him level in World Cup goals with his former coach Jürgen Klinsmann. However Klose was sent off in the 37th minute of Germany's match against Serbia for amassing his second yellow-card foul of the match, and didn't play the match against Ghana because of his expulsion.
He opened the scoring in the Round of 16 match against England on 27 June 2010 with his 12th World Cup goal, equalling Pelé for fourth on the all-time list, and also notching up his 50th international goal in his 99th international game, as Germany won the game 4–1.
Klose made his 100th international appearance in the quarter-final match against Argentina, becoming only the sixth German player to reach the landmark. He then scored the second and fourth goals against Argentina (Germany winning 4–0), pulling him level with Gerd Müller's all-time German World Cup goalscoring record.
During the Euro 2012 qualifiers, Klose scored at least one goal in every single game he played, striking against all of Germany's opponents: Belgium, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Austria. Gaining only six caps during the qualification campaign, he scored nine goals and provided two assists, making him Europe's second-most-successful striker for this period, behind Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who scored 12 times in eight matches. At the end of the qualifying campaign he had achieved 21 assists and 63 goals while playing for Germany, trailing Gerd Müller's German goalscoring record by five (albeit playing almost twice as many internationals compared to Müller).
2014 World Cup and retirement
Klose said that the 2014 World Cup was his last one for Germany, stating that he wanted one more shot at trying to win the World Cup and having done that he was content. On 6 June 2014, in Germany's final friendly before the World Cup against Armenia, Klose scored his 69th international goal, thus breaking Gerd Müller's record of 68 goals and becoming Germany's record goalscorer. He scored his record-equalling 15th World Cup goal in Germany's 2–2 draw against Ghana on 21 June 2014. This tied him with the Brazilian player Ronaldo. With this goal Klose became the third player in history to score in four different World Cups. On 8 July 2014, Klose scored a record 16th World Cup goal in the 23rd minute against Brazil in the semi-finals, his second goal of the 2014 World Cup. That goal gave Germany a 2–0 lead, en route to a 7–1 win over Brazil, and Klose surpassed Ronaldo's previous record of 15 World Cup goals. Klose set another record by becoming the first player to appear in four consecutive World Cup semi-finals. Germany went on to win the World Cup final against Argentina 1–0 from Mario Götze's 113th-minute goal. Klose announced his retirement from international football one month after the World Cup final.
Style of play
A prolific goalscorer, Klose was a large and powerful striker, who was known in particular for his ability in the air as a centre-forward, due to his strength, timing, elevation, and heading accuracy, as well as his finishing ability; in his prime, he was also a quick player, who was known for his turn of pace and positional sense in the area. In addition to his physical attributes, he possessed good technique, and was capable of setting-up goals for teammates in addition to scoring them himself, due to his tactical intelligence and ability to interpret the game. He was also known for his dedication and correct behaviour on the pitch.
Earlier in his career, Klose was known for his acrobatic goalscoring celebrations, which included mid-air somersaults.
Throughout his career, Klose often stood out for his fair play and honesty in addition to his skill and goalscoring as a footballer. On 30 April 2005, while playing for Werder Bremen, Klose refused to accept a penalty given against Arminia Bielefeld as he felt the decision was incorrect. He was later given a fair play award for his actions, although he had mixed feelings about the award, stating: "It's a big honour for me to receive this award, [b]ut I am also a bit irritated. For me, it was something you should always do. I would do it again – always."
At the end of September 2012, Klose scored a goal using his hand for Lazio against Napoli. Klose admitted this to the referee, who then took back his decision for the goal, spared Klose from a yellow card and shook his hand. Later that year, he was once again given a fair play award for his actions by the German Football Association, later commenting: "The referee asked me if I had touched the ball with my hand and it was not a problem for me to answer 'yes'. There are many youngsters who watch football on tv and we are role models for them." In 2016, he was given the Sport Ethics Award for his honesty at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and subsequently added regarding the incident: "Napoli? For me it was easy, it's my character. We need to set an example, ... If I can even help out the referees, I will do so willingly."
Klose announced his official retirement from professional football on 1 November 2016; following an invitation from manager Joachim Löw, he joined the Germany national football team coaching staff.
- 1.^ Includes German Super Cup and Italian Super Cup.
|Germany national team|
- DFB-Ligapokal: 2006
- Bundesliga: 2007–08, 2009–10
- DFB-Pokal: 2007–08, 2009–10
- DFB-Ligapokal: 2007
- DFB-Supercup: 2010
- Coppa Italia: 2012–13
- FIFA World Cup: 2014; Runner-up: 2002
- German Footballer of the Year: 2006
- Bundesliga Top Goalscorer: 2005–06 (25 goals)
- FIFA World Cup Silver Shoe: 2002
- FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe: 2006
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2002, 2006
- FIFA World Cup all-time record goalscorer.
- German national football team all-time record goalscorer.
- Only player to have had four or more (consecutive) FIFA World Cup medals.
- Only player to have appeared in four or more (consecutive) semi-finals in FIFA World Cups.
- Scored at least five goals in two FIFA World Cups, record shared only with Teófilo Cubillas and Thomas Müller.
- Record for scoring most goals from headers in a single edition of the World Cup.
- One of eight players in Serie A history scoring five goals in a match.