Lukas Josef Podolski (German pronunciation: [ˈluːkas poˈdɔlski]; born Łukasz Józef Podolski (IPA: [ˈwukaʂ pɔˈdɔlskʲi]) on 4 June 1985) is a German footballer who plays as a forward for Turkish club Galatasaray. 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 will join the squad of Japanese club Vissel Kobe in mid-2017.
He joined 1. FC Köln in 1995 where he broke into the first team in 2003 and made 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.
Although he was eligible to play for Germany and Poland, Podolski chose to play for Germany. Podolski enjoyed great success with the national team ultimately becoming a national hero. He was first capped by Germany in 2004 and has been part of the squad in all major tournaments since then, 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 9 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.