Created on 18-07-2014 at 10:50 AM
Five days after leading Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil, national team captain Philipp Lahm has surprised the footballing world by announcing his retirement from the international game. “I became increasingly resolved to take this step in the course of last season,” the 30-year-old was quoted as saying by Sportbild magazine. Lahm informed Germany coach Joachim Löw of his decision last Monday.
Lahm’s national team career began on 18 February 2004 with a 2–1 victory away to Croatia. The FC Bayern captain appeared at three World Cups and three European Championships, scoring five goals in a national team career spanning more than a decade. Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro against Argentina was Lahm’s 113th appearance for his country.
Reaction to Lahm's international retirement
“There can hardly be a better way to say farewell than to bow out at the high point of a career as world champion,” FC Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told fcbayern.de. “However, it will not be easy for the national team to replace Lahm as a player, person and captain.”
Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer spoke of “very surprising news for the national team and Germany fans. But only Philipp can sense whether his decision is the right one at this point in time. I definitely have the very greatest respect.”
“In his ten years with the national team he has not only been an outstanding player but always an absolute role model. I thanked him for all he has achieved on behalf of the DFB,” commented German FA (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach in a statement on the association homepage. During a phone conversation with the player, Niersbach revealed, “I swiftly realised it would be hopeless trying to talk him out of his decision.”
Niersbach later announced a worthy send-off for Lahm prior to the first international fixture following the World Cup triumph, when Germany - appropriately enough - meet Argentina in Düsseldorf on 3 September. "We at the DFB owe Philipp a wonderful farewell after his ten fantastic years in the national team,“ the DFB President stated.