Lahm stuns Germany by quitting national side

Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:14am EDT
 
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By Mark Meadows

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany captain Philipp Lahm stunned his homeland on Friday by quitting international soccer at the age of 30, five days after leading his side to World Cup victory in Brazil.

"During last season I made a decision to end my international career after the World Cup," Lahm wrote in an open letter on the German soccer federation website (www.dfb.de).

"I shared my decision with Germany coach Joachim Loew at breakfast on Monday. I am happy and thankful that the end of my national team career coincided with winning the World Cup in Brazil.

"I have been on holiday for the past three days and here have had the quiet and time to mentally come to terms with the end of my national team career. A heartfelt thank you for a wonderful time."

Lahm's decision came as a shock to German soccer federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach.

"Philipp called me this morning and personally told me the news," Niersbach said. "Very quickly into the conversation I realized that it was futile to try to change his mind.

"He was not only an outstanding player in his 10 years with the national team but always a perfect role model. I thanked him for all that he has done for the DFB."

Lahm's success and gravitas was such that even German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on his decision.   Continued...

 
Germany's national soccer team player Philipp Lahm addresses a news conference in the village of Santo Andre north of Porto Seguro July 11, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann