Saturday 16 December 2017

Lahm bows out on high after World Cup glory

Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has retired from international football, a decision he says was made before the tournament in Brazil had even begun.

The 30-year-old announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect on Friday, but he knew before flying out to South America in June that it was going to be his last tournament for Germany, whatever the outcome might have been.

"Over the course of last season, I made up my mind that I was going to end my international career after the World Cup," Lahm said in a letter posted on the German federation (DFB) website.

"I informed Germany coach Joachim Low of this decision on Monday at breakfast. I'm grateful and thankful that the end of my career coincides with winning the World Cup in Brazil with the national team."

Lahm is currently on holiday after bringing an end to a decade with the national team.

Making his debut in February 2004 against Croatia, Lahm made a total of 113 appearances for his country.

He became captain in 2010, prior to the World Cup in South Africa after Michael Ballack was forced out through an injury which effectively ended his international career.

Lahm's own glittering international career ends in more favourable circumstances.

"There's hardly a better way to call it a day than as world champion, at the pinnacle of your career," said Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the Bavarian club's website. "It's not going to be easy for the national team to replace Lahm as a player, person and captain."

On Sunday Lahm picked up his ninth trophy in just two years having clinched the Bundesliga twice, the DFB-Pokal twice, the Champions League, the European Super Cup, the German Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup for Bayern Munich.

Five days later, he announced to DFB bosses that he was bowing out.

DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said: During our talk, I realised very quickly that it would have been pointless trying to talk him out of his decision.

"He was not only an exceptional player for the national team but was always a role model."

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