Lahm and Alonso 'have shaped world football'
Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, venue of the Champions League final, on 3 June 2017. Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso dreamed of making one last appearance in the last match of the season, the last match of their careers, and hoisting the coveted trophy. But their dream was heartbrakingly dashed on Tuesday evening, when Lady Luck let them down. The Champions League quarter-final return against Real Madrid was the last match in Europe's premier club competition for the two legends.
"It's very disappointing, also for me personally after so many years in the Champions League," the 33-year-old said after the 4-2 defeat in extra-time against the holders from the Spanish capital. In contrast to 2014, when Philipp Lahm finished his international career winning the world cup with Germany, it was not to be in 2017, and the Bayern skipper will not finish his career showered in confetti in Cardiff.
German record holder
It is not until the last match of the season that Lahm wants to give way to his emotions. "Perhaps I'll get a little emotional, but only after the season, when everything's over. Because I've seen so much along with the team at the stadium, experienced so much with so many players. It's only afterwards that you realise it. Today the disappointment is dominant."
For the first time since 2011 the last four will take place without Lahm, who made it to the final against Inter Milan in 2010 and at home against Chelsea in 2012 before winning the trophy against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in 2013. Lahm & Co were knocked out in the last four from 2014 to 2016. Boasting 112 Champions League appearances, Lahm is the German record holder ahead of Oliver Kahn on 103.
Alonso fails to equal Seedorf's record
Xabi Alonso boasts 119 matches, making his final appearance in Europe's elite club competition at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, where he wore the Real Madrid kit for five years. "It's tough at the moment, we're disappointed, but that's football," declared Alonso, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and Real in 2014. He would have equalled Clarence Seedorf's record of three titles had he won the Champions League this year.
"Two great players finished their Champions League career in an appropriate way, in a great spectacular match," declared centre-back Mats Hummels, acknowledging the two legends. Both have "shaped world football," added Hummels: "They played in the Champions League virtually every year."
"Philipp and I've enjoyed so many matches, until the last day. We can be happy," the world and European champion said. Alonso and Lahm were the last Bayern pros to leave the Bernabéu. The duo have around six weeks left, and they want to win two titles. Three victories are missing to seal the German championship title, Bayern cross swords with Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup semi-finals. "I hope we'll make it to the cup final. Hopefully it'll be the last match!"