Philipp Lahm Confirms Retirement Plan, Commits to 'Definite' Bayern Munich Exit – Bleacher Report

Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm goes about his work on the pitch with forensic precision, and it seems as though those meticulous qualities have transcended into the German’s future planning, with the 31-year-old insisting he will retire from football in 2018.  
“Once again, it is most clear to me that I am going to finish [my career] in 2018,” the World Cup-winning captain told Sport Bild magazine (h/t ITV.com). “It’s good for me to be able to prepare for a definite date.”

Lahm has certainly lived the dream of any young German footballer. Not only has he represented Bayern with distinction on 439 occasions, but he played for Germany on 111 occasions, too, per Transfermarkt.co.uk. His final appearance for the national side was against Argentina in 2014 at the Maracana, as Germany won the World Cup.
Here’s a reminder of the honours which Lahm has won so far in what has been an astonishing career:
If he is to retire in 2018, it means Bayern will get two more campaigns out of their skipper after the current one before he hangs up his boots for good at the age of 34. For a player revered by manager Pep Guardiola as the most intelligent he has ever worked with, per Alec Fenn of Goal.com, you suspect that’ll be a big disappointment.
As we can see here, courtesy of WhoScored.com, the defender-cum-midfielder has been a consistently positive presence during the past few years:
Bastian Schweinsteiger: Only Philipp Lahm has played more accurate passes in the last 6 Bundesliga seasons than Schweinsteiger (9954)
Lahm could probably go on for much longer. He’s not a player wholly reliant on pace and dynamism, although he remains very sharp and a savvy operator who has become much more instinctive late in his career. But if he sticks to this date, it’s likely to mean Lahm steps aside when he’s still a world-class performer.

With the likes of Lahm retired and Bastian Schweinsteiger, another player synonymous with the German club, having left the club, there are pertinent concerns Bayern may lose its German core. Indeed, under the the tutelage of Guardiola, the club has fashioned an increasingly cosmopolitan squad which is rife with a lot of Spanish players.
Bleacher Report Bundesliga expert Clark Whitney thinks that’s a peculiar phenomenon given the recent revitalisation of the German game:
Also relevant that Germany were at a historical low point circa 2001. Bizarre that Bayern become "less German" w/ GER reigning world champs
But Lahm is a player who is emblematic of a system which is heavily reliant on organic growth, and whether Guardiola is still in charge or not, expect more players from the Bayern academy to be slowly integrated into the first-team squad. It’s crucial they are in order for the club to preserve it’s patented German identity.
With international ambitions fulfilled, the Allianz Arena crowd can look forward to nearly three more years of Lahm at his peak before he walks away from the sport. You can bet a player with his ability, leadership skills and winning mentality will be desperate to add to his illustrious haul before then, further enriching his secure legacy as the best full-back of this generation.
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