Arsenal transfer target Lukas Podolski apparently runs a lower division German football club, according to a report in The Sun. In fact, the Lukas Podolski Sportpark, the home ground of FC Bergheim 2000, is where the German forward had his first football sessions.
The club now plays in the ninth tier of German football and Podolski, who has been a German international since 2004, returns twice every week to watch the local team play. He also helps the manager select new players and discusses the club's tactics.
The 26-year-old is proud about the improvements he made to this sports centre and football club.
"Look at this astroturf pitch. It was an ash surface but I had it re-laid. There is also a junior pitch with the same astroturf. I also had the main grass pitch re-laid - and the changing room and things like that," Podolski was quoted as saying by The Sun.
"I lived two minutes away and I love this centre. I biked here every day after school and played with my friends until 10pm. This was my life. It is only 50 minutes from Cologne. My friends play here and on Sunday, if I'm not playing for Cologne, I'm here having fun, eating food with my friends. This is normal for me. Everyone knows me here and it's nice," he further said.
Podolski also said his dream as a youngster was to be as good as Brazil's Ronaldo.
"In 2005 I played against him and Brazil in the Confederation Cup - that was some moment and we changed shirts. My big interest is the junior team. We are looking for the new Podolski," said the German.
The forward avoided commenting about his impending transfer to Arsenal as it has yet to be officially announced.
However, Bergheim coach Ingo Haselbach had something to say regarding the move.
"When he joins Arsenal, he will play with the heart and I think the fans will love that," said the 42-year-old.
Cologne coach Willie Breuer, who is Podolski's oldest friend in the football world, also thinks a transfer to Arsenal in the summer would suit him well.
"It is also good that he will go to the Premier League. We spoke six months ago about moving there. I told him he would be a success. He is fast and physically strong and Arsenal will be a good move. And I am sure he will be a good fit with van Persie," The Sun quoted Breuer as emphasising.