Memorable Moments of Lahm’s career

Published 02/11/2017, 11:07 AM EST


“The Ballon d’Or has become a popularity contest for strikers,” wrote Bayern Munich and former Germany defender Phillip Lahm in an exclusive column for Goal.com in January 2016. He’s not wrong. Of course, there should more to a football player being hailed as the best in the world than just scoring an incredible number of goals. Versatility, leadership, and accurate reading of the game are some of the qualities a Ballon d’Or winner should have. How many players came to your mind when you read these qualities? Very few, isn’t it? Phillip Lahm is one such player. 749 games, 21 trophies, 0 red cards. Such kind of statistics are unreal. As Lahm announced his decision to hang up his boots at the end of the current season, have a look at the finest moments of in the career of a player, who could very well go down in the record books as the greatest full-back ever. They just don’t make them like him anymore.

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Champions League Glory:

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Bayern Munich have come so close to European supremacy and yet been so far, so many times that there would hardly be anyone who wouldn’t feel sorry for them. Phillip Lahm was a part of two of Bayern’s three heart-breaking Champions League final defeats – against Manchester United in 1999, Inter Milan in 2010 and Chelsea in 2012. In 2013, the Bavarians stomped their way once again to the Champions League final. But this time the stakes were higher than ever, as Bayern Munich were facing arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, who had had a stellar season so far under Jurgen Klopp. Arjen Robben’s 89th-minute winner ensured that Bayern had finally got their hands on the elusive Champions League trophy, and it was Lahm who lifted the trophy as Captain.

Midfielder Lahm:

After Jupp Heynckes left Bayern Munich in 2013, establishing them as the team to beat in Europe, Pep Guardiola arrived at the Allianz Arena. Many were wondering how Bayern would adapt to Guardiola’s possession based football, which won the Spaniard tons of accolades at Barcelona, from the counter-attacking style they were used to under Heynckes. One of the vital components for this transition was Phillip Lahm. Guardiola deployed the right-back in central midfield and he ensconced there with ease as if it was his second nature. Lahm’s brilliant reading of the game and neat passing helped Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga four times on the trot, with Lahm’s performance in the 3-1 win against Manchester City widely considered as the German’s best in his career. “Philipp is the most intelligent footballer I have ever worked with,” said Guardiola after the match.

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World Champion Lahm:

Die Mannschaft hadn’t won a World Cup since 1990. Their last major international trophy was the 1996 European Championship. It was a disappointment of sorts that in every major tournament, Germany were hot favorites to win the gold, but had to settle for bronze or silver every time.

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For Lahm, who had established himself as one the most versatile players on the planet, it was perhaps the last chance at his peak to make it big. And boy didn’t he deliver in style! Having started the tournament in midfield, Lahm was shifted to right-back position by coach Joachim Loew in the later stages, which involved decisive games. His positional awareness and reliable passing against Argentina in the final were unparalleled. Soon after Germany were crowned World Champions, Lahm announced his retirement from international football after appearing in four semifinals and two finals in six major tournaments for his country.

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Rajat Mohile

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