The addition of Miroslav Klose to the Lazio squad in the summer could have been seen as an expensive gamble, but it has paid off for the Rome club with the German now contributing both on the pitch and behind the scenes.
Making a 33-year-old your highest earner is rarely the best idea, worse still when they have been shunned by their current club for the past two seasons and have produced a meagre 11 goals from 64 games – most of which were substitute appearances. But this wasn’t just any washed up 33-year-old, this was Miroslav Klose.
His new teammate, Hernanes, was delighted with signing saying: “His contribution will be crucial this season.” The German international has lived up to this early billing collecting 16 goals and 5 assists for Lazio in all competitive games so far this season. Klose has provided a last-gasp derby-winning goal and a game-changing brace against Lecce, all of which have filled the hearts of the Curva Nord with hope of seeing Champions League football once again next season.
As well as conquering all that falls before him on the football pitch Miro has had an impact on the goings-on at the Lazio training ground, Formello. At the start of this season, when he was still enjoying his introduction to life in Rome, Djibril Cisse waxed lyrical about the depth of the relationship he had with Klose explaining that “we don’t stop speaking to each other, not even under the showers, after training we keep talking about what we need to improve”
When Edy Reja threatened to resign, for the first time this season, after defeat to Genoa in September 2011, it was Klose who led a players’ committee that helped convince the tactician to remain at the helm. Just a few days later Klose thanked his coach with a goal against Cesena that the coach accepted gratefully saying: “Klose is very humble and an example for everyone with the way he works for the team”
For a while now at Formello the striker has occasionally been taking 17-year-old Antonio Rozzi under his wing and offering him a few tips he has picked up over the years. Klose has trained with the entire Primavera squad a number of times offering them advice as well, helping them understand the sacrifices required in order to reach the very top.
Former German international Oliver Bierhoff revealed in an interview that Klose’s secret was his “inner serenity”. The striker is constantly full of praise for the Italian capital and appears proud to now call Rome his home, but the move was considered with the precision of his cleanest strikes on goal. Before signing the contract with Lazio Klose said: “I wanted to know everything: finding a good school for my children and a welcoming home to live in, these were fundamental”.
The performances on the field have helped the fans take to Klose, some more than others it seemed after he revealed: “Before I came here, I had never seen a postman kneel on my doorstep and kiss my feet. It’s happened to me here”
As well as the numbers recorded and remembered for posterity, the goals and assists, it is the intangibles that could be creating a legacy in Rome. When Klose turned 33 last June he received a contract from Lazio on the night of his birthday, but it now looks like it is Miroslav who is the gift that keeps on giving.