February 08, 2017

MUNICH (AP) Philipp Lahm's retirement announcement came as a big surprise to Bayern Munich.

The team knew that the former Germany captain was going to call an end to his career after this season, but they didn't seem to know he was going to tell the world on his own.

''Until yesterday we assumed that there would be a joint announcement by Philipp Lahm and Bayern Munich on this decision,'' Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Wednesday in a statement.

Lahm, who has played in 501 competitive games for Bayern and led Germany to the 2014 World Cup title, said Tuesday he would quit the game at the end of the season, one year before his contract ends. He has also decided to turn down the vacant role of sporting director at the club.

''It's just a few more months, but no more,'' the 33-year-old Lahm said after Bayern's German Cup win over Wolfsburg.

Rummenigge said Lahm and the club had held ''open, intensive and constructive talks about his possible involvement in the management of our club'' but he informed him and club president Uli Hoeness last week of his decision not to accept the offer. He also informed them of his wish to terminate his contract, which runs to 2018, at the end of this season.

Lahm has won the Bundesliga seven times and German Cup six times with the club, as well as the Champions League in 2013 and other titles.

''Lahm has been an important player for Bayern Munich for over a decade,'' Rummenigge said.

Lahm, who retired from international soccer after winning the World Cup, has been a fixture at Bayern since returning in November 2005 from a serious knee injury after a loan spell at Stuttgart, going on to make 320 Bundesliga appearances with 12 goals and 45 assists.

''We want to make clear that the doors of Bayern Munich will also be open for Philipp in the future,'' Rummenigge said.

Lahm has won 21 titles so far, including the World Cup, almost as many as the 24 yellow cards he picked up over his Bayern career.

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