Philipp Lahm is the German national team’s fearless captain and will be leading Germany into the finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Watch the video above to see some of his best highlights.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He is Underrated in Comparison to Messi
Lionel Messi is a much more common household name around the world than Philipp Lahm, however it is Lahm that has been considered the better player by the top coaches and scouts in the game. Although Messi is considered maybe the best player in the world it is hard to compare Messi who’s greatness is amounted in the amount of goals he has scored to a defender on the back line without those kind of stats on paper.
Lahm was a perfect footballer even at that age . But no one wanted him. I offered him out on loan. One manager even wanted me to reimburse him for the petrol money he had spent to come and watch Philipp [because he was unimpressed]. A few years later I met the same manager in Berlin so I took out my wallet and said: ‘Now, young man, how much did you want for that trip?’”
Philipp Lahm is the most intelligent player I have managed in my career…I’ve often said he can play in 10 positions; the only place I can’t play him is in goal.
He always pays attention to the details, wherever he plays. But the most important thing is that, wherever he plays, he always plays well.”
2. He Won FIFA World Cup Player of the Year in 2006
After his exceptional performance in the 2006 World Cup, he was given the prestigious FIFA World Player of the Year award.
In his first World Cup in 2006, Jürgen Klinsmann picked him as the starting left back for Germany. He ended up scoring the first goal for them in the opener against Costa Rica 6 minutes into the game. Lahm was named Man of the Match after the group game against Poland and was the only player for Germany to play for all 690 minutes of the World Cup.
Lahm played every minute in the 2010 World Cup too. That year he was named captain to become the youngest German captain in the history of the team at the age of 26. He still holds the position today.
Lahm has captained Germany up to the finals so far in the 2014 World Cup and is considered a great leader despite his quiet, laid back personality. He has played in every game so far in the tournament.
He is currently in the running for FIFA’s Golden Ball award that will be named in the end of the tournament.
3. He Has Only Played on Bayern Munich
Lahm became a part of Bayern Munich’s first squad in 2005 and turned into a starter by the next season. Since then he has won five German Cups, five league titles, two German Super Cups and the European Super Cup. More than half of the titles were captained by Lahm.
Lahm has made it clear that he will not leave Germany and represent a club from another. In 2008, he was offered a deal with Spain’s powerhouse FC Barcelona alongside Lionel Messi.
He told media:
For me it was important to know how Bayern see me. And there were times when I had the impression that my opinion wasn’t 100% appreciated all the time. Now, after several good discussions, I have the feeling of being an important part of the Bayern puzzle. And that was very important to me.”
He became the captain of Bayern Munich in 2010 and in June 2013, he signed a contract to extend his time there until at least 2018.
He is paid about $16.3 million a year including money made from endorsements.
4. He Wrote an Autobiography
Lahm released his book Der feine Unterschied: Wie man heute Spitzenfußballer wird (The Subtle Difference – How to Become a Top Footballer) in August 2011. The autobiography discussed his career as a pro soccer player and revealed details of his experiences and personal relationships with those in the soccer world including teammates and coaches. He also discussed methods of training and the difference a good coach makes in player’s career.
The book became No. 1 on the bestseller’s list. Many criticisms of the book came from former coaches whom he had thoroughly analyzed and critiqued in the book, including former coach of the German national team Rudi Völler.
5. He Got Married Four Days After the 2010 World Cup
Lahm got married to his longtime girlfriend Claudia Schattenberg in Munich four days after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Germany placed third that year and the couple decided to have an extremely quiet wedding thereafter with only close family members.
The Lahms have a two year old son, Julian who was born in August 2012.
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