On the eve of Germany’s opening Euro 2012 qualifier, Germany striker Miroslav Klose said Thursday he wants to play on until the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
The 32-year-old has already won 101 caps for his country and with 14 World Cup goals to his credit, is just one short of the record of 15 set by Brazil’s Ronaldo.
“I think I can still play for a few more years at a high level,” said the Bayern Munich striker with Germany set to face Belgium in Brussels on Friday in their first Euro 2012 qualifier in Group A.
“I’m only 32, so age is not a problem.
“If I am still fit in four years and my performances are good enough, why shouldn’t I not play then?”
Klose is third amongst Germany’s all-time goal-scorers with 52 and is just behind Joachim Streich, who has 55 goals, and Gerd Mueller, who scored 68 goals for his country in just 62 games.
With rising star Thomas Mueller, the World Cup’s top-scorer, also able to play up front, Klose knows he will have plenty of competition for his place over the next four years.
“It remains to be seen what will happen, as Thomas Mueller showed there are young and talented players coming through,” said Klose.
“There is also Mario Gomez (of Bayern Munich), (Stuttgart’s) Cacau and Stefan Kiessling (of Leverkusen).”
With Germany captain Michael Ballack still recovering from the ankle injury which kept him out of the World Cup, defender Philipp Lahm will captain Germany against Belgium with Schalke’s Manuel Neuer keeping his place in goal.
Wolfsburg defender Arne Friedrich is injured, so Germany coach Joachim Loew is expected to pair Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker and Hamburg’s Heiko Westermann as centre-backs.
Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira is expected to be named alongside vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger in the midfield while Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski will lead the attack.
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