Football

Lahm: I want to leave at my peak

Retiring Bayern skipper believes he can't perform at the highest level beyond this season

Unlike many other top players of his calibre, Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm wants to walk away while he is still at the top.

The 33-year-old German utility player announced yesterday morning (Singapore time) that he will retire from football at the end of this season, because he does not believe he will be able to maintain his high standards next year.

Lahm, who has a year left on his contract with the defending Bundesliga champions, also said that he has rejected an offer from the club to become a sporting director.

"I'm going to stop playing football at the end of the season," the Bayern youth product confirmed on the club's official website, following his team's 1-0 victory over Wolfsburg in a German Cup Round-of-16 tie yesterday morning.

"More than a year ago, I started asking myself from day to day and week to week. I'm certain I'll maintain peak form through to the end of the season. I can manage that until the end of the campaign, but not beyond it."

REJECTING OFFER

On the chance to join the club's backroom staff, he added: "There were talks and, in the end, I decided it's not the right time for me to take up a new position at Bayern."

A World Cup winner with Germany, Lahm, who made his 500th Bayern appearance against Schalke last Saturday, is aiming to win a record eighth Bundesliga title this season.

The Munich-born player has spent his entire club career with Bayern, bar a two-year loan spell at Stuttgart between 2003 and 2005.

There were talks and, in the end, I decided it’s not the right time for me to take up a new position at Bayern. Bayern captain Philipp Lahm lifting the Champions League trophy in 2013, on rejecting the club’s offer of a sports director post

He has won seven Bundesliga titles, six German Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup with Bayern. He captained Germany to World Cup glory in 2014 before retiring from international football.

The timing of his announcement took Bayern by surprise, club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Just minutes before Lahm's annoucement, Bayern president Uli Hoeness had said he knew nothing of the player's retirement and said any announcement would be a joint one with the club.

"Bayern Munich are surprised by the actions of Philipp Lahm and his adviser," Rummenigge said. "Until yesterday, we were expecting to issue a joint statement from Philipp Lahm and Bayern Munich.

"Uli Hoeness and myself had honest, intensive talks in the past months with Philipp about a potential involvement in the management of our club.

"Last week, he informed us he was currently not available for the sports director position and that he wants to end his contract early." - WIRE SERVICES

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