Philipp Lahm has been inaugurated as the latest member of UEFA Champions League 100.
Lahm’s addition to the organization’s star-studded list of achievers was confirmed on Tuesday (02.04.2019).
The Germany international footballer shot to limelight in 2013, when he won the UEFA Champions League trophy with Bayern Munich at Wembley Stadium. He was regarded as a “flawless full-back” who fearlessly exploited the midfield area and excelled with amazing football records.
Prior to lifting the 2013 Champions League trophy at Wembley Stadium, Lahm had suffered devastating losses to Inter Milan and Chelsea at two UCL finals in three seasons. He made 105 and 7 appearance for Bayern Munich and Stuttgart respectively. He also captained the German club side and his national team.
Lahm played a prominent role in Bayern’s resurgence between 2005 and 2017, when he retired from active football—having carved a niche for himself in both right and left sides of the nearly-impenetrable defence line. He held position as Bayern captain between 2011 and 2017.
His trophy-laden football career at Bayern was beautified after he struck up a solid understanding and relationship with left-footed Holland player Arjen Robben, who always moved closer to the opponents’ penalty area whenever Lahm overlapped.
The 2013 UCL finals against domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund was remarkable for Lahm as a captain of the winning side, but that victory was even more exciting when Pep Guardiola joined to consolidate the team’s record as a force to reckon with in global football.
‘A team can either break apart completely or grow closer together…We chose the latter,’ Lahm said after the victory.
Under Guardiola, Lahm was redeployed as a central midfielder—an area he had always explored with less difficulty. He was part of Germany’s successful 2014 World Cup campaign. Among his honours list are a UEFA Super Cup, 6 German Cups and 8 Bundesliga titles.
Also known as the “Magic Dwarf,” Lahm’s final Champions League outing was against Real Madrid. He retired as “the outfield player with most caps who never scored a UCL goal.”
Some of Lahm’s best football memories are: the 7-1 drubbing of Roma in 2014, a victory which remains the Italian club’s record-loss in top-flight football; his assist for Robben’s opening goal against the Italians; and an amazing 2003 UCL performance against a Manchester United team that featured Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy. The match ended 2-1 in favour of Stuttgart.
Former Bayern youth-team coach Hermann Gerland told the press, ‘After spending just three months with us [at Stuttgart], he [Lahm] became a hero on the pitch against United…He did marvellously well that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him immediately.’
In the aftermath of Bayern’s merciless win against Roma in 2014, Guardiola said: ‘He [Lahm] is the most intelligent footballer I’ve ever coached.
‘One of the reasons for my success at Bayern is the relationship with Philipp Lahm. He helped me a lot from the beginning. He always performs. I have never seen Philipp have a poor match…He will always be a special person in my life, and he is an absolute legend.’