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Klose gunning for Ronaldo's World Cup goal record

The Germany veteran acknowledges that he is looking to become the tournament's all-time top scorer this summer, though he emphasized "the team always comes first."

Lazio and Germany striker Miroslav Klose says he is motivated to regain full fitness for the World Cup so he can break Ronaldo's all-time scoring record.

The iconic Brazil striker currently leads the standings for the tournament to date, with 15 strikes in three finals appearances in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Klose — who is just one goal behind — is set to travel to Brazil this summer for the fourth finals of his career and will have the chance to move ahead of the former Real Madrid star.

And the Lazio striker — who has 68 goals in 131 games for Germany — says the thought of reaching the top of the goal-scoring podium gives him an extra incentive to be fully fit for next month, having struggled with back and thigh injuries this season.

"Those who know me know this is indeed an aim of mine," he told reporters in Italy. "The team always comes first. With one goal I am joint top. I need two to be top. I am on a good road. Fitness coaches here know me and know what I need. I expect to be 100 percent at the tournament. But the team always comes first. There are five or six teams fighting for the title. Luck is also a factor."

Germany heads into the finals as one of the pre-tournament favorites after cruising through its qualifying group, yet Klose believes South American nations hold a distinct advantage over their European counterparts due to the climate in Brazil.

"I spoke with teammates in Italy. They told me that at the Confederations Cup [in Brazil last summer] they didn't know how to breathe after only 20 minutes. It's another way of football there," he said. "South Americans have an advantage, they know the conditions."