Lukas Josef Podolski is a German professional footballer who plays as a forward for Turkish team Antalyaspor. He is regarded as one of the best German players of his generation, and among the best finishers in world football. Famed for his extremely powerful and accurate left foot, he is known for his explosive shot, technique and probing attacks from the left side.
He joined 1. FC Köln in 1995 where he made it into the first team in 2003 resulting in 81 appearances for the club before moving to Bayern Munich. With Bayern, Podolski won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2008. Podolski returned to 1. FC Köln in 2009. He later signed for Premier League club Arsenal in 2012, with whom he won the FA Cup in 2014. He then moved on loan to Serie A club Inter Milan in January 2015, before signing six months later for Galatasaray where he also won the Türkiye Kupası of 2016.
Podolski was eligible to play for Germany and Poland. Podolski originally wanted to play for the Polish team but was rejected by then Polish coach Paweł Janas in 2003. Podolski enjoyed great success with the German national team. He was first capped by Germany in 2004 and was a part of the squad in seven major tournaments, winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He is the third most-capped player in German history, with 130 caps, and the third-highest goalscorer in German history, having scored 49 times.
On 29 May 2013, Podolski scored the fastest goal in German national team history, after just nine seconds of the 4–2 friendly win over Ecuador. It was at that time the second fastest international goal in history, second only to San Marino's Davide Gualtieri's 8.3-second strike against England in 1993. Podolski retired from international football on 22 March 2017 after scoring the winner in a friendly against England.
Podolski was selected in the Germany squad for the 2006 World Cup, where he partnered Miroslav Klose as the attack duo in the starting lineup. He scored his first World Cup goal in Germany's third group match against Ecuador, and both goals in the 2–0 win over Sweden in the round of 16. He became the first player since 1962 to score two goals in the first 12 minutes of a World Cup match and only the third player ever to accomplish the feat. Germany finished third in the tournament, and while his teammate Miroslav Klose won the Golden Boot competition, Podolski's three goals tied him for second place with Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Fernando Torres, David Villa, Maxi Rodríguez, Hernán Crespo and Zinedine Zidane. Podolski was named the World Cup's Best Young Player ahead of players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.