Lahm retires from international football

LONDON - Germany’s World Cup-winning captain, Philipp Lahm, has retired from international football.

Germany’s No1 fan, the chancellor Angela Merkel, was quick to pay tribute, saying: “I’d like to express my respect for what he achieved with the national team.”

In an open letter on the German FA’s DFB website, Lahm said: “During last season I made a decision to end my international career after the World Cup.

“I shared my decision with Germany coach Joachim Löw at breakfast on Monday. I am happy and thankful that the end of my national team career coincided with winning the World Cup in Brazil.

“I have been on holiday for the past three days and here have had the quiet and time to mentally come to terms with the end of my national team career. A heartfelt thank you for a wonderful time.”

Löw responded by saying: “Philipp is a model professional who subordinates everything to success. Winning the world title has crowned an outstanding career.

“He is a great player with heart, passion and character, who has done much for the DFB. Philip will remain a key pillar for FC Bayern. Sporting-wise and personally I wish him all the best. Thank you, Philipp.”

Lahm, now 30, began the World Cup in midfield where Löw has preferred him recently, but was moved to his natural position of right-back as Germany clicked into gear.

He made his international debut in 2004 and went on to play 113 times for Germany, taking over the captaincy from Michael Ballack in 2010 to lead the team in South Africa.

He will continue to play for Bayern Munich, whom he also captains, having recently extended his contract with the German champions to 2018.

The club said the decision to retire from Germany had taken them by surprise. “There is hardly a better farewell than to be a world champion at the peak of your career,” the Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club website.

“But for the national team, it will not be easy to replace Lahm as a player, captain and a man.”

As well as the World Cup, Lahm has won the Bundesliga five times, the German Cup five times and the Champions League, all with Bayern.

The president of the German FA, the DFB, Wolfgang Niersbach said: “Philipp has called me this morning and informed me personally about this decision. In the conversation I very quickly realised that it was futile to want to talk him out of it. He was in his 10 years playing for the national team not only an outstanding player, but always an absolute role model. I thanked him for everything he has done for the DFB. – Presss Association

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