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Mr Reliable

Philipp Lahm

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Any player who won 21 honours in 22 years with FC Bayern will have created a great many memories to enjoy looking back on. And yet for Philipp Lahm, one moment in particular comes to mind. When the FC Bayern captain got his hands on the trophy after the final whistle in the Champions League final at Wembley on 25 May 2013, lifting it into the air and cheering loudly, it was the perfect moment for the entire FC Bayern family. It was the same picture wherever you looked - unbridled joy, happiness and contentment.

Lahm captained FC Bayern to their first title in the top tier of European football in twelve years. "Take a guess," the Munich-born midfielder said laughing when, just before ending his career, he was asked about his most treasured moment in Bayern colours. Up there with his best memories, however, are not only the 517 competitive games he played for the German record champions, but also each and every one of his honours. He won eight championships, a number achieved only by Oliver Kahn, Mehmet Scholl and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Add to that six DFB Cup wins, three in the German Supercup, the 2008 League Cup, as well as the Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2014.

Lahm established a new style of leadership

Lahm was often referred to as "Mr Reliable" - for his style of playing on and his work off the pitch. He joined from FT Gern at the age of eleven, and in more than 20 years with the club (with a short spell on loan at VfB Stuttgart) he developed into the face of a golden generation at FC Bayern. Unflustered, always extremely fair but strict, he established - both from 2011 in Munich and as captain of Germany, whom he led to the 2014 World Cup crown - a leadership style that differed markedly from that of previous generations.

On the pitch, mostly at right or left-back, sometimes in midfield, he was not only an undisputed regular and top performer, but he also personified consistency. For many years he and Arjen Robben shaped the game on Bayern's right wing, harmonising perfectly. Mehmet Scholl said to him at his farewell: "In 75 percent of all the games you played in, you were outstanding. And in the other 25 you were world-class."

'He could already do anything'

Lahm always knew what he wanted - and pursued his plan with great consequence. He himself decided on the timing of both his retirement from the national team and the end of his career. He was never a loud-mouth, but he did offer criticism when he considered it necessary. This was always clinical, well-reasoned and given following some reflection.

"I couldn't teach Philipp much. He could do anything," said Lahm's mentor Hermann Gerland. Pep Guardiola called him "the most intelligent player I've ever coached." At the end of his career aged 33, he left a huge pair of shoes to be filled. His final act was hoisting the championship shield into the air on the Town Hall balcony. Another memory we will enjoy remembering.

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