Philipp Lahm was expected to be a Bayern Munich man for life, but he’ll end his career with an unexpected twist.
The German soccer legend announced Tuesday he’ll retire after the 2016-17 season, according to Sky Sports. Bayern Munich had planned for Lahm to retire after next season and become its sporting director, but he decided to push forward his retirement and make a clean break from the club entirely.
“I can continue with my leadership style, giving my best every day, in every training, until the end of the season,” Lahm told reporters following Bayern Munich’s win over Wolfsburg. “I can keep doing it this season but not beyond.”
Lahm, 33, used Twitter on Wednesday to further explain his decision.
However, Lahm’s decision to reject the sporting-director role shocked Bayern Munich.
“FC Bayern München is surprised by the approach of Philipp Lahm and his adviser,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement. “Uli Hoeness and I have held open, intensive and constructive talks with Philipp in recent months about a possible position as sporting director of our club. At the end of last week, he informed us that he is currently not available for such a position and that he would like an early termination of his player contract, which runs until June 2018, at the end of the current season.
“Until yesterday we assumed that there would be a joint announcement on this decision by Philipp Lahm and FC Bayern München.
“Philipp Lahm has been an important player for FC Bayern München for over a decade. We are convinced that our captain will now concentrate fully with the team on the tough upcoming tasks in the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup. We would like to make clear that the door will always remain open for Philipp at FC Bayern München.”
German newspaper Bild reported Tuesday Lahm’s reason for turning down Bayern Munich’s job offer.
“Lahm would have been a sports director without a seat on the board (of directors) — unlike predecessor Matthias Sammer (2012 to 2016). Only Christian Nerlinger (2009 to 2012) held the position without a place in the Bayern leadership.
“(This for) Lahm was too little to achieve his goals … .”
Lahm probably will return to Bayern Munich one day, but only after intense negotiations resolve the standoff.
Until then, fans will remember Lahm as a legendary player, who led Germany to victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and revolutionized the fullback position.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport/USA TODAY Sports Images
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