Lukas Podolski probably didn’t realise how popular he was until Wednesday night.
Sure, it helped that he scored the only goal of the game - and what a goal, by the way - to beat England in Dortmund, but he would have received a hero’s send-off regardless.
German fans turned up with their banners and Podolski shirts to pay tribute to the left-footed forward who always seemed to turn up for his national team.
Podolski is one of those rare players who always seemed to reserve his best performances for international matches.
Without dismissing his club career, which was far from a disappointment, Podolski just seemed to step it up a level whenever he pulled on the Germany shirt.
In 130 appearances for the four-time world champions, he scored a hugely impressive 49 goals.
Only Miroslav Klose, the World Cup’s all-time leading goalscorer, and the legendary Gerd Muller have netted more for Die Mannschaft.
Podolski's 49th international goal was arguably his best
Podolski’s 49th and final international goal came against the Three Lions - and it’s arguably the best of the lot.
He picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, shifted the ball to his left foot and unleashed a howitzer that flew past Joe Hart like a rocket.
Even the England goalkeeper held his hands up and admitted it was a superb strike.
”He said it was a f***ing brilliant shot,” Podolski revealed after the match.
Asked how his career would have panned out had his right foot been as strong as his left, the 31-year-old joked: "Then you'd have to invent a team for me. Barcelona or Real would not be enough."
Podolski was given the bumps by his teammates after the match while a few other stars took to social media to pay tribute to the Galatasaray man.
Lewandowski sends Instagram message to Podolski
Among them was Robert Lewandowski, the prolific Bayern Munich striker and one of the best number nines on the planet.
The Poland international sent a great little message to Podolski, which we’re sure he’ll appreciate.
Posting a photo of the two of them together, Lewandowski wrote: “@poldi_official Remember: You are as good as your last goal 😊👋 #rl9”.
That must make Podolski eternally world class because that goal was of the highest calibre.
Lewandowski’s Instagram message was also liked by Radamel Falcao, who clearly enjoyed Podolski’s stunner like the rest of us.News Now - Sport News