Lahm set to retire at season’s end

World Cup winning captain will leave Bayern after 22 years

Afp February 08, 2017
Lahm skippered Bayern to their 2013 Champions League victory at Wembley. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN: Germany’s World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm on Tuesday confirmed he will retire at the end of the season and leave Bayern Munich, having rejected a role as sports director.

“I have decided to stop playing football at the end of the season,” said 33-year-old Lahm after Bayern’s 1-0 win over Wolfsburg in the third round of the German Cup.

“I am sure I can keep putting in the performances until the end of the season, but not after that,” he added, confirming an earlier press report.

Lahm explained why he has turned down the vacant sports director role, which would not have included a place on Bayern’s board following recent restructuring at the club.

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“It’s not the right time for me to step up with FC Bayern,” he said.

“I decided that for myself after talks.

“I’ll be a private person again in the summer, then I’ll have time to take care of other things and to have a few conversations,” he added.

The defender made his 500th appearance for Bayern last Saturday and will hang up his boots in June despite having a year left on his contract.

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Lahm retired from international football after captaining Germany to the 2014 World Cup title in Brazil and making 113 appearances for country. He joined Bayern as an 11-year-old in 1995 and, apart from a loan spell at VfB Stuttgart in 2003/04, he has spent his entire career at the Bavarian giants.

He became club captain after Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel stood down in January 2011.

Lahm then skippered Bayern to their 2013 Champions League victory at Wembley when they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final. That season, they became the first German club to complete the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

With Bayern currently four points clear in the Bundesliga and through to the Cup quarter-finals, Lahm is well set to go out on a high and add to his seven league titles and six Cup victories.

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With Lahm now out of the running, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Max Eberl is now favourite to take over as Bayern’s director of sport after Matthias Sammer quit last year.

“We talked to Philipp Lahm, but there is no plan A, B or C,” Bayern’s president Uli Hoeness told broadcaster ARD.

“We have not talked to anyone else, but there will be a sports director starting on July 1.

“It is not about the power you have in that position, but about the responsibility,” he added.