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World Cup-winning captain

Lahm: As of now I'm a Germany fan

A momentous decision had been taken long before the moment Philipp Lahm hoisted the World Cup trophy into the Rio de Janeiro skies. Over a ten-year period the 30-year-old made a remarkable contribution to Germany's steady rise up the world rankings, and he felt now was the time to bow out. “In the course of last season I increasingly came to the conclusion that my sixth major tournament with the national team would also be my last,” Lahm exclusively told “I simply felt it was the right decision.”

Representing his country had been “an absolute privilege,” continued Lahm, who made his senior international debut in a 2–1 victory over Croatia in February 2004. He has finished with 113 caps, and started every game he played. “I've had 10 wonderful years and it couldn't be better. I'm thankful and delighted it's been such a fantastic period.”

Coach Joachim Löw led a chorus of praise for the Munich-born utility man. “He's world-class, a model professional who places success above everything else.” Winning the World Cup was “the crowning glory of an outstanding career.” Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff added his own words of praise: “I have the greatest respect for Philipp’s career and his decision. All that remains is for every one of us to say thank you.”

“It won't be easy [for Germany] to replace Lahm as a player, person and captain,” opined FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Lahm himself said he “won't be making any predictions" as to how the national team will fare in his absence. However, he will remain closely associated with Germany in one important respect. “As of now I'm a national team fan,” the World Cup winner declared.