New Norwegian coach Stale Solbakken has taken a bold decision at Bundesliga side FC Cologne (1.FC Köln) by taking the captaincy away from local hero Lukas Podolski and handing it to Brazilian defender Pedro Geromel. Solbakken only made the official announcement regarding his new captain on Monday, but this story has been making big headlines especially in the local tabloids since Friday.
"I can understand the reactions this decision will provoke and I can understand the disappointment of some fans," the coach told journalists.
"But I ask the fans to understand my decision is for the benefit of the whole team. Pedro Geromel will as captain exemplify the new culture of the team and embody our new overall sporting concept," Solbakken added.
"In my conversations with him, Lukas has expressed his disappointment but at the same time respected and understood the reasons for my decision."
German international Podolski only got the captaincy in January 2011 from former coach Frank Schaefer, but the local boy who has played now 13 seasons from youth over the second team to the first team with only a three year break at FC Bayern Munich in-between, is loyal to his home club. And Podolski has said what an honour it is to wear the Cologne captains armband.
Solbakken thought otherwise, now it will be interesting to see how the very emotional fans in Cologne react to the decision. Solbakken will need success to steem any discontent for this decision.