Bayern Munich captain and former Germany international Philipp Lahm announced yesterday that this season would be his last.
The 33-year-old fullback had one more season left on his contract with Bayern and had previously indicated he would hang up his boots at the end of 2017-18. Yet Lahm told reporters after his side’s 1-0 win over Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal that he just didn’t have another campaign in him, and that this was the end of the road.
”I have told the club I will stop playing at the end of the season. My leadership style is in the way I give my best every day, in every training session and every match. I believe I can do this until the end of the season but not beyond then. It is clear to me I will stop.”
Lahm also revealed that Bayern had offered him the vacant sporting director position at the club— and that he had declined. “There were discussions but at the end of those discussions I decided myself that this is not the best time for me.”
Lahm, who has spent his entire playing career with Bayern Munich, has an astonishing seven Bundesliga titles to his name, with an eighth likely forthcoming to give him a league record and a wholly appropriate send-off. He also won six DFB-Pokals, the Champions League, and the Club World Cup during his time with Die Roten. He earned 113 caps for Germany over a ten year period and retired from international duty shortly after earning a World Cup winner’s medal in 2014.
There will be plenty of time for glowing retrospectives and hagiographies in the months to come, but for now it’s fair to say that it’s hard to overstate the size of the hole Lahm is leaving in football after this season.