Germany legend Miroslav Klose has ended his playing career as he prepares to become a coach with the national side.
Klose, who retired from international football after winning the 2014 World Cup, had been without a club after leaving Lazio in the summer.
The 38-year-old, who also played for FC Homberg, Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich, remains Germany’s all-time leading scorer with 71 goals in 137 matches.
Klose, who is one of the most successful players in German football history, is also the all-time leading scorer at World Cup finals, having scored a total of 16 goals across four tournaments.
The German FA (DFB) confirmed his retirement on Tuesday and said he would join Germany’s coaching staff with immediate effect, as a part of a trainee programme.
“I have achieved my biggest successes with the national team,” Klose said on the official DFB website. “It was a wonderful and unforgettable time. That’s why I am delighted to return to the DFB. Over the past few months the decision to stay on the pitch, but take on another perspective, that of a coach, grew in me.”
Klose added that during his playing days he had been keen to “read a game, prepare for it meticulously and develop tactics and strategies” and that he was thankful to Germany head coach Joachim Low and DFB sporting director Hansi Flick for allowing him “to shape this view in practice” by joining the association.
Low, who on Monday extended his contract until 2020, said he can very much picture Klose as a future coach and that he was happy to support him.
“I am convinced that the coaches and also the players can profit from his presence and participation,” Low said, while confirming that the former striker will work with the coaching staff on and off the pitch.
Germany’s general manager, Oliver Bierhoff, said the national team can become “a second home with familiar surroundings” for some players and welcomed Klose’s decision to take the special route to his coaching career, and added that integrating former internationals is part of a new “strategic process” for the DFB academy, which is to be built in Frankfurt.