Bayern Munich skipper and former Germany captain Phillip Lahm has announced that he will be retiring from football at the end of the current season. Lahm announced his decision after the DFB-Pokal round of 16 victory against VfL Wolfsburg.
The 33 year old has had a career few can lay claim to, the pinnacle being Germany's triumph at the 2014 World Cup where he captained the team to glory.
And now, after having turned out for the Bavarian giants in over 500 games, Lahm has decided to call it a day.
Lahm cannot continue beyond this season
Lahm's decision to retire has come as something of a surprise, the Bayern captain has managed to remain fit and has performed at the highest level on a consistent basis for the club.
However, it now seems as though age has caught up with Lahm and after having enjoyed a stellar career including a World Cup triumph and a treble-winning season under Jupp Heynckes in 2013, the German legend has declared that this season will be his last.
He explained his decision and said, "I can continue with my leadership style, giving my best every day, in every training, until the end of the season. I can keep doing it this season but not beyond."
Lahm had signed a contract extension with Bayern in 2014. And now, he confirms that he will be departing the Allianz Arena at the end of the 2016/17 season, which means that he will be leaving the club one year before his contract expires in 2018.
Lahm has been considering it for a while
Lahm's versatility and his fitness has made him a key player for both the national team and at club level, he has shown that he is not only a top class defender but also a classy midfielder.
Bayern have had world class managers and each one has admired Lahm and helped him improve his game in their own way, with Pep Guardiola being the man behind Lahm's move to midfield.
After having served Bayern so loyally for so long, Lahm said that he has been "considering" retirement for "more than the past year".
He acknowledged that the desire to play is vital and said, "You have to keep testing yourself, you have to keep asking yourself 'how is it', day by day, week by week on the training pitch, what's the feeling you have."