Bayern Munich: Lahm, Alonso Retire from Football

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm was given an emotional ovation as he waved farewell to the German club before his final career appearance.

Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning captain, 33, was presented with a number of mementos before Saturday's home win against Freiburg.

Lahm played his 517th and final game for the Bundesliga champions. Midfielder Xabi Alonso, 35, and keeper Tom Starke, 36, were also presented with gifts as they prepare to retire.
Final Bow for Lahm and Alonso

Bayern clinched their fifth successive Bundesliga title last month and finished 15 points clear at the top of the table after a 4-1 victory. Lahm announced in February that he would be retiring at the end of the season after spending his whole career - bar a loan spell with Stuttgart - at Bayern.

The full-back or holding midfielder has won almost every major domestic and European trophy with the Bavarian club, including his eighth Bundesliga title - a joint record with Bayern legends Oliver Kahn, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mehmet Scholl - this season.

Lahm fought back the tears when he was substituted with five minutes remaining, warmly hugging each of his team-mates before walking off to a standing ovation from the Allianz Arena.

He blew kisses to the home fans, then embraced manager Carlo Ancelotti and Alonso - who had already been substituted - on the touchline. Lahm, who joined Bayern as an 11-year-old before making his debut in 2002, will be remembered as one of the club's all-time greats, said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

He will be inducted into the club's Hall of Fame after the game, the first player since Kahn in 2008 to be added. "He deserves this accolade, which puts him up there with the greats of FC Bayern," said Rummenigge.

"Both on the pitch and off it, in his role as captain, he has been a truly important person for the club."
Bayern fans showed their love for Lahm by unveiling these banners before kick-off

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Alonso, who said in March he would retire when his contract ended, also ended a memorable career in both domestic and international football.

His triumphs include two Champions League wins, four domestic titles, including three with Bayern, as well as the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships with Spain.

A trademark diagonal pass from Alonso allowed Arjen Robben to cut inside from the right flank and open the scoring against Freiburg, before second-half goals from Arturo Vidal, Franck Ribery and Joshua Kimmich sealed the win.

Alonso was brought off in the 81st minute to another emotional standing ovation from the Bayern fans. "Alonso is one of our best signings of recent years, a real lucky find, a gifted tactician, a highly intelligent man and one of the most uncomplicated players I've ever witnessed," added Rummenigge. - BBC

0 comments :

Post a Comment