Podolski, 23, will return to Cologne from defending Bundesliga champions Bayern this summer, and football-fan Schumacher was just one of the hundreds of fans who have dipped into their own pockets to help the club finance the deal.
Schumacher, who retired from Formula One in 2006, paid nearly €900 to help his friend fulfill his dream of returning to Bundesliga side Cologne after three unhappy years in Munich.
On the club’s internet site fans can pay €25 for a pixel of a picture of Podolski and if all 40,000 pixels are sold, the club will make a million euros.
So far the website has raised €96,000 towards the transfer, including the money from Schumacher.
“Well, boy, you have followed your heart and that is always good,” wrote Schumacher to Podolski on the website. “Genuine team spirit can be replaced by nothing and I am speaking from experience. My team has always been the most important to me. Now you can show all the fans what the club means to you. I keep my fingers crossed for you.”
The club’s marketing manager Lars Nierfeld told German daily Bild that Schumacher had wanted to help the cause sooner, but had been prevented by injuries during a his motorcycle accident in Spain.