The Tro­phy Man Set to Re­tire

The Bay­ern full-back Lahm will leave be­hind a ca­reer lit­tered with tro­phies

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Ro­nan Mur­phy

WhenPhilip­pLah­man­nounced­his­in­ter­na­tion­al­re­tire­mentafter­cap­tain­ingGer­many to the 2014 World Cup, plau­dits flooded in his di­rec­tion from every source imag­in­able, in­clud­ing the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor.

An­gela Merkel praised the full-back for all he had done to bring glory back to the coun­try, an­nouc­ing: “Be­com­ing world cham­pion in foot­ball is def­i­nitely a team ef­fort but the cap­tain has a lot to do with that. I want to take the op­por­tu­nity to give him my re­spect for what he has done for the na­tional team.” Bay­ern Mu­nich chair­man Karl-Heinz Rum­menigge went even fur­ther, prais­ing Lahm’s char­ac­ter off the pitch as well as his tremen­dous abil­ity on it.

On Tues­day, Lahm an­nounced his re­tire­ment from club foot­ball, con­firm­ing he would hang up his boots at the end of the sea­son with Bay­ern Mu­nich.

Like Ger­many, who re­gressed af­ter their World Cup tri­umph, Bay­ern will find it dif­fi­cult to re­place the 33-year-old who has been in­dis­pen­si­ble at the club since break­ing into the first-team in 2005, play­ing at right and left-back as well as in de­fen­sive mid­field as the Bavar­i­ans won seven Bun­desliga ti­tles in that spell.

For the past decade, Bay­ern Mu­nich and Philipp Lahm have been syn­ony­mous. THE TI­TLES 1 World Cup 2014 7 Bun­desliga 6 DFB Pokal 3 DFB Su­per­cup 1 Cham­pi­ons League 1 UEFA Su­per Cup 1 FIFA Club World Cup How­ever, he has been at the club even longer, joining as an 11-year-old way back in 1995. Since his league de­but in 2005, Bay­ern Mu­nich have had nine man­agers, but one thing re­mained con­stant: Lahm, who has been a Bun­desliga be­he­moth.

The Mu­nich na­tive has played 338 league games­forthe­club,win­ningawhop­ping233 times as Bay­ern kept 129 clean sheets.

In that time, he has also popped up with a few goals at the other end, scor­ing 11 times, and as­sist­ing 42 more.

But per­haps most re­mark­able of all is the fact that Lahm has never been sent off, and picked up just 26 yel­low cards in the 11-anda-half years since his break­through.

Lahm will re­tire with a full tro­phy cabi­net,hav­ing­won­sev­enBun­desli­gati­tles,six DFB Pokals, the DFB Li­gapokal and three DFBSu­per­cups.ACham­pi­onsLeaguewin in 2012-13 was his great­est club achieve­ment, while he also won the UEFA Su­per Cup and FIFA World Club Cup in 2013.

When choos­ing full-backs for teams of the year, Lahm was al­ways a con­tender - he was named in mul­ti­ple World Cup dream teams, Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship team of the­tour­na­ments,UEFATeamoftheYears, Cham­pi­ons League Team of the Sea­sons, FIFA World XIs, and much more.

Hav­ing played over 500 times for Bay­ern Mu­nich in all com­pe­ti­tions, and 113 times for his in­ter­na­tional side, Lahm will be very dif­fi­cult to re­place.

BAY­ERN ‘SUR­PRISED’ BY TIM­ING

Bay­ern Mu­nich says it is “sur­prised” by Lahm’s de­ci­sion to an­nounce his re­tire­ment on his own. Rum­menigge says “un­til yes­ter­day we as­sumed that there would be ajoin­tan­nounce­ment­byPhilip­pLah­mand Bay­ern Mu­nich on this de­ci­sion.” Lahm de­cided to turn down the va­cant role of sport­ing di­rec­tor at the club. Rum­menigge says “we want to make clear that the doors of Bay­ern Mu­nich will also be open for Philipp in the fu­ture.’’

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