There are not many players that have a left foot as good as Lukas Podolski. Generally hard and precise, but also full of feeling, the World Champion’s repertoire is varied and his shooting technique and dynamism are often admired world-wide. Of his right foot, we only know that it exists- you could count all the goals that Podolski has scored with his right foot on one hand.
The following surprising statement appeared in a Podolski interview with the Bild Zeitung: “His right foot his better.” It is only surprising at first glance, that Podolski said that about Podolski. When you look at it again, you realise that Podolski senior was talking about Podolski junior. Here is the complete statement about his son Louis’ qualities: “He has the same amount of footballing talent as me but his right foot is stronger.”
Pierre Littbarski sat at the table for his interview. He is not only a 1990 World Champion but also a scout at VfL Wolfsburg and Littbarski the scout was sharp-eared. A footballer with the same talent as Podolski and a better right foot- an offer had to follow swiftly: “If his right foot is as good, then we can sign a pre-contract right away.”
The contract did not take place and it was only meant as a joke. Lukas Podolski is still the only Podolski who signs contracts at big clubs and recently he has done so again. He will play in Italy until at least the end of the season, as he is on loan at Inter Milan. Pierre Littbarski is sure that he will do well in Italy: “He is rated highly and is a recognised world star,” he said. He then turned directly to Podolski: “You can be proud of that, Lukas. You don’t need to get anymore advice.”
Podolski has a cheerful nature about him and self-doubt rarely affects him; he would rather laugh than ponder. And yet he is touched by Littbarskis’ words. Behind him are a few difficult months in London when he often played quite convincingly for Arsenal but did not play enough matches. He has taken the logical next step by moving to Italy. He knows what he can do and he got a good reception when he arrived. “Thank you,” he said, “I appreciated that a lot.”
A new era has begun in Italy for the 29-year-old. He has only experienced Milan for a few days but he is already impressed by both the club and the city. The cathedral in Milan does not match the beauty of its counterpart in Cologne but Podolski is otherwise enthusiastic about the country and the people, as well as his teammates. “My first impressions of Milan are completely positive and I have been really well-received,” said Podolski. “Even though it is never easy to settle into new surroundings, I can be completely satisfied with my performance in my first few matches. I am convinced that I can still help the team.”
There is one person that does not have a single doubt about Podolski: Littbarski. “Poldi has proven that he can do it anywhere,” he said. Podolski wants to play in Europe with Inter and the Champions League is the pinnacle. Inter Milan are currently in ninth place in Serie A with 26 points. Podolski knows how difficult the job will be but his optimism is unaffected. “Our aim is to reach the Champions League,” said Podolski. The end. No discussion.
The same goes when it comes to another target that he had in mind when he made the move to Italy: That is the German national team. Podolski has played 121 times for Germany and he has become a part of the furtniture and has been there for more than a decade. Germany’s manager Joachim Löw knows that he can always rely on Podolski but Podolski also knows that he needs to get into the team on merit. He wants to prove that he can continue to play a role in the World Champions’ team by putting in strong performances at his club. That was not possible in London but he will get more opportunities in Milan. He has big plans for his last few games in a German shirt. After winning the World Cup trophy, he wants to also win the European Championships: “Currently I see it like this: The European Championships will be my last major tournament.”
One day, another Podolski should take over at the World Cup. One with a strong right foot and a pre-contract at VfL Wolfsburg. “My dream is to see my son win the World Cup,” said Podolski. “Every father wishes that for their child.”