The Germany Under-21 captain has spoken about his excitement ahead of the coming season, and is ready to step into the Spaniard's shoes if called upon
The Real Madrid legend ended his two-year stay at the Veltins Arena this summer to move to Al Sadd, and the Germany Under-21 captain has been touted as a potential replacement.
"He is one of the greatest footballers of all time and he was a really important figure for the club," Holtby told Bundesliga.com. "He scored and set up a lot of goals for us, but now we have to look for a new forward. We have a new, young, team that wants to win trophies.
"On a personal level I'm desperate to try and emulate what he's achieved, but it's not easy. I've spoken with the coach and it's an option for me to play there because my running skills are perfect for that position, but let's wait and see."
Looking ahead to the new season, Holtby urged his teammates to showcase their best form in order to break the Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund duopoly that has dominated the top of the Bundesliga in recent years.
"The first thing I'd say is that the whole team has to stay fit for the entire season," he explained. "The other point is that we have to win the big games against Bayern, Dortmund, Leverkusen and whoever else."
"We have to stay in top form, especially with the Champions League to think about too. I think that's a recipe for winning titles."
Schalke finished in third place in the Bundesliga last season, 17 points behind eventual winners Borussia Dortmund.
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