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September 24, 2017

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Five facts on Germany's main man Miroslav Klose

PARIS -- Five facts on Miroslav Klose who became the leading all-time goalscorer in World Cup history with his 16th goal in the 7-1 mauling of hosts Brazil in the semifinal on Tuesday:

Klose the model European citizen

Born in Poland to a soccer-playing father Josef and handball international mother, he was brought up in France till he was eight years old, his father played for Auxerre, then joined his soccer-playing father in Germany where he had moved. Klose said in an interview in 2008 he did not wish to be known as either Polish or German but as European. He and his wife Sylvia instill the same principles in their two sons Noah and Luan speaking to them in Polish at home while they speak German at school.

Lazio ultras leave him cold

Klose was less than amused when at a Rome derby in 2011 between his present club Lazio and AS Roma the fascist section of fans who follow the former brandished a banner with his name on it and the insignia SS — the elite and fanatical military followers of Adolf Hitler. "Sport and politics are two separate entities. I also feel disgusted that my name should be associated on the same banner as the SS," he said.

Benediction from Pope

Klose, a devout Roman Catholic, achieved a dream of his to meet the Pope personally when he had a general audience with the now retired German Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 at the Vatican. They held a long conversation by the standards of such meetings with the Pope being Bavarian and Klose having played for Bayern Munich prior to moving to Lazio they probably had a lot to chat about especially as the striker had only days previously aided Lazio to beat Roma.

Poles advances rebuffed

Poland did try to convince him to play for the country of his birth when then Polish coach Jerzy Engel went to see him at his club Kaiserslautern. However Klose declined the offer. "I have a German passport, and if things are still running this way, I have a chance to play for Rudi Voeller," he said. While Klose has said since he might have made a different choice had the Poles come to see him earlier given what had transpired since he made the right decision.

Klose puts his hands up

Klose made a rare sporting gesture with regard to a 'goal' he was awarded for Lazio against Napoli in September 2012. A scrappy effort saw the final touch come off the striker and he celebrated but such was the virulent reaction from the Napoli players to the referee giving the goal that the match official thought something was off and consulted his linesmen. They had seen nothing so as a last resort he asked Klose and the "European" admitted the goal should not stand as it had gone in off his hand so the referee chalked it off. Klose was patted on the back and congratulated for his gesture by the Napoli players.

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