'Arsenal hero Lukas Podolski's kebab empire has made him filthy rich – now I know why'

Lukas Podolski has built a multi-million-pound kebab empire in Germany (Image: Getty)

A stranger and I stood barely a yard apart as we ate our Poldi Sandwiches in complete silence. No words or looks were exchanged, just sauce spilling down our hands as we applied full focus to the task at hand and then went our separate ways.

Distractions are best avoided when something tastes that good. Having tried it for myself, it’s clear that Lukas Podolski’s kebab empire is not just a gimmick – the former Arsenal forward has raised the bar for those dishing out doner on the streets of Cologne.

Mangal x LP10 uses ‘The Kebab of Champions’ as its tagline, and it’s not just a case of them tooting their own horn. The brand’s success has seen 30 franchises open across Germany and five in Cologne, where Podolski was signed to the city’s academy at the age of 10.

Now playing his football with Polish side Gornik Zabrze, it’s certain Podolski is earning nowhere near the reported £100,000 a week he banked during his time with the Gunners. But the 39-year-old’s successful kebab empire has helped him amass a net worth of almost £180million.

The first thing you notice as you approach the counter is the bread. One staff member was stretching out raw dough ready to bake in the oven, fresh, as the Poldi Sandwich requires a wide sub roll of sorts covered in sesame seeds.

It was a new concept on me, and not the kind of pitta or wrap you’d usually associate with a doner kebab, but it sets Mangal apart and most definitely works.

Lukas Podolski has opened five kebab shops in Cologne and 30 across Germany (Image: Express Sport)

I thought the extra sturdiness might make eating it a less messy affair, but it turns out grabbing a handful of napkins is just as important as getting all three sauces on offer. The chilli doesn’t blow your head off, the garlic doesn’t smack you in the face and the mystery pink sauce is understated – but together they work in perfect harmony.

The chicken kebab meat was as flavoursome as you’d expect, and the salad was fresh. Halfway through the sandwich, and with the stranger now on his way, I was joined by three hungry Switzerland fans who had also gone for the establishment’s signature dish.

It got three lots of top marks from them, plus a perfect score from me, although the Scots were harder to please. Four eights and three nines came back when asked to rate their food out of 10, with one of them insisting that Shawarma King in Glasgow remains his personal favourite.

Still, there were no complaints to be heard as stomachs were comprehensively lined for less than £6.70. Podolski is deadly accurate at finding the top corner, but when it comes to kebabs, he’s smashed it out of the park.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1913173/arsenal-lukas-podolski-kebab-cologne