The Germany forward Miroslav Klose is days away from turning 34 but competition for places and a desire to play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil keep him motivated despite the occasional twinge.
Klose, who celebrates his birthday when Germany take on Portugal in their Euro 2012 Group B opener in Lviv on Saturday, has been prolific for his country in previous tournaments.
The Lazio player, who has scored 16 times in 27 games in international competition and 156 in 318 career club games said yesterday: "I am much further in my fitness now and there is no pain and that is what is important.
"I have got my eye on getting to 100 per cent but I don't really think I can reach that figure at my age."
Poland-born Klose is battling with Mario Gomez for the one place in coach Joachim Löw's 4-2-3-1 formation. Löw has also brought Marco Reus into contention for the spot, saying he could be deployed as an out-and-out striker.
"Mario is super strong and I would also not underestimate Marco but competition is good because it brings life into this business," Klose said, adding that there were no secrets to staying competitive.
"I have no idea. I keep fit, my feet still carry me so I push my cadaver along. I will be 34 so my back hurts occasionally and I do some exercises before and after training. If I do not do them then I am not that fresh or flexible."
With 14 World Cup goals to his name – one short of former Brazil striker Ronaldo's all-time record – Klose is hoping he will stay fit to get a shot at competing at the 2014 tournament.
"I don't know. I take it one step at a time. I will have to see if my legs still carry me," he said.
"My attitude is that the last 20 per cent you have to pull it out of yourself.
"I don't know. I take it one step at a time. I will have to see if my legs still carry me."