EXCLUSIVE: The Bayern captain says he could decide not to retire in three years as he had originally intended and defended Pep Guardiola’s tactics
Philipp Lahm has exclusively revealed he may renege on his claim that he will retire from football in 2018.
The Bayern Munich captain, who quit international football after winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014, claimed upon signing a new four-year deal with his club side last summer that it would be the last contract of his career.
But now Lahm has conceded that he may not turn his back on the game in three years’ time after all.
“When I signed my renewal I stated that this would probably be my last contract as an active football player,” Lahm told Goal. “But I can’t exclude that I will say in 2018: ‘I am feeling well, I am fit, I want to play one more year.’ That may be possible.
“At the same time, I know that I will be 34 years old and we’re not talking about some random club, but FC Bayern: a club which wants to be the best in all competitions. To be able to still perform strong permanently under these circumstances won’t be easy.”
Bayern have faced criticism recently – with coach Pep Guardiola’s style of play attacked following the 4-1 Bundesliga defeat to Wolfsburg – but Lahm insists that the ex-Barcelona boss’ approach is not a risky strategy.
“These discussions are completely unnecessary,” he insisted. “For the first 17 matchdays and in the entirety of last season we were praised for how we played.
“The system has worked very well for over 18 months now, and there have been only slight exceptions.
“We only have problems if not everybody sticks to the plan we agreed beforehand. And if this happens to several players, things like the Wolfsburg game happen.
“I don’t think we take that many risks. Of course we could stay at the back and wait, but that would not be fun. You would rather have the ball than run after it.
“But our main strength over the last 18 months has been the way we win the ball back. In the matches immediately after the winter break we had lost a little of this quality.”
The Bavarians remain one of the favourites to win this season’s Champions League, but the 31-year-old utility man is sure his side will be challenged by familiar foes in Europe.
“Real Madrid may have lost 4-0 to Atletico recently but they still look to be going really well, especially in the Champions League. And then there are the usual suspects: Barcelona are always dangerous and so are Chelsea as the Premier League leaders. Those teams are the big guns.”
Lahm is still basking in the achievement of leading Germany to their fourth World Cup victory last July and says that the night they won the trophy in Rio de Janeiro was the best of his career.
“My first thought after the final whistle was: ‘Finally it’s over’. We waited for the final whistle so badly. The following hour-and-a-half were probably the best in my life as a football player.
“When you get to celebrate with the fans, hug everybody and then go up there, get your medal and lift the World Cup aloft at the Maracana, that is very special.”