Germany’s Lukas Podolski says his side can take inspiration from Formula One legend Michael Schumacher to win the World Cup this summer.
Schumacher suffered a near-fatal head injury in a skiing accident last December but is now out of intensive care and reportedly making a slow recovery, with Podolski paying tribute to the national legend at the end of a team press conference.
‘I want to say hello to a good friend who unfortunately can’t be here and that is Michael Schumacher,’ Podolski said. ‘I think he’s as passionate about football as all of us.
‘Unfortunately he is not well and Germany, I and the national team want to wish his family strength and we hope he’ll be better soon.
'Maybe he can watch a few of our matches and if we can win the World Cup, then that can put a smile on his face.’
Podolski has shown his support for Schumacher multiple times in the past, most notably with a pair of specially made boots for the recent FA Cup final win, and will be hoping to draw strength from his battle when Germany face Portugal on Monday in their opening Group G match.
The two are said to be close friends, with Podolski having grown up near Schumacher’s hometown, while the former Ferrari driver is also a fan of the Arsenal striker’s old club, FC Koln.
Coming off an injury-hit season, in which the Gunners sealed their first major trophy in nine years with victory in the FA Cup final, Podolski could be a surprise starter in Brazil, as manager Joachim Low is forced to alter his lineup after injury to Dortmund winger Marco Reus.
With an array of attack-minded talent at their disposal, Germany go into the tournament as one of the more fancied sides, but they will need to advance from a tough group with Portugal, the USA and Ghana before they can even begin to think about a potential match at the Maracana on July 13.