After 22 years of football, Philipp Lahm looking for family life
Berlin: Facing his farewell after a 22-year playing career, Bayern Munich's star footballer Philipp Lahm admitted the last game is going to be one of the most emotional moments of his life.
The 33-year-old will play his last game in the German Bundesliga on Saturday when Bayern face SC Freiburg, reports Xinhua news agency.
With World Cup, Champions League, eight national and six Cup trophies, the defender and midfielder can look back more than two decades of incredible success as one of the greatest footballers in German history.
The 33-year-old started as a ball boy for Bayern when still making his first steps in football at the FT Gern club in Munich in 1995.
Entirely scandal-free, Lahm has created a gleaming reputation as a reliable world class player with unique passing and tackling skills in nearly 130 Champions League games, around 370 in the Bundesliga and 113 for Germany.
Only a few footballers managed like Lahm to provide such variability to their team as right back, left back, midfield's center or along the right flank.
He always tried to understand the different positions and what is needed to do the job, as he told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"Maybe it was an advantage to have played several different positions and not be restricted to only one. I had to adapt to different roles. I always tried to understand each and every position and its specific needs," Lahm said.
The facts that he has collected more titles than yellow cards, and never received a red card, are astonishing.
He replaced Michael Ballack as the captain of the German national team ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It was a step that was supported by his teammates and the German coach Joachim Loew.
In 2008, Spanish giants FC Barcelona were eager to sign a footballer that would have enriched Barca's dominant passing game. Lahm said he seriously thought about moving and talked to Barcelona.
In the end though he decided to stay -- a decision he said he has never regretted.
Between 2003 and 2005 he played for VfB Stuttgart on loan.
"But obviously Bayern were sure of my qualities and did not sell me but took me back," Lahm remembered.
In Stuttgart, Lahm had his breakthrough with his first Champions League games in the Stuttgart jersey. From that time he knew he has the class to make it and faced the challenge of returning to Munich's squad of world class talents.
Lahm loved making decisions only a few saw coming. After the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he retired from the German team even though he was one of the team's cornerstones and one of its top performers.
Though Lahm has worked with famous coaches such as Jupp Heynckes, Felix Magath, Louis van Gaal, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, he at present cannot imagine taking over a team as a coach.
Instead he needs to take time away from football and start up on another career.
Lahm has prepared intensively for a life after football as he is shareholder of several companies producing care products and nutrition for athletes.
Despite his emotional ties with Bayern Munich, Lahm rejected an offer to join the club as a managing director right after his retirement.
The thing he is most looking forward to is enjoying an ordinary family day starting with a relaxing breakfast with everyone around the table. That, Lahm said, is something "I have not had for many, many years."