"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.
"I'd like to express my respect for what he achieved with the
national team," she said.
Lahm, who picked up the last of his 113 caps in the 1-0 World Cup
final victory over Argentina on Sunday, will continue playing for
club side Bayern Munich.
"There is hardly a better farewell than to be a world champion at
the peak of your career," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said
of Lahm's retirement on the club website (www.fcbayern.de).
"But for the national team, it will not be easy to replace Lahm as a
player, captain and a man."
Despite the old adage saying you should always go out on top, Bayern
acknowledged on their website that Lahm's decision had taken them by
[to top of second column]
Many German fans also reacted with disbelief on Twitter given Lahm's
relatively young age to quit the international scene.
Germany's dominant performance in Brazil, including a 7-1 thrashing
of the hosts in the semi-finals, also suggested an assault on Euro
2016 glory was well within their and Lahm's reach.
Lahm, who started his Germany career in February 2004, was one of
the top players in Brazil as he effortlessly switched between
midfield and right back.
He barely made a mistake all month and was among the nominees for
the player of the tournament award.
The Bayern captain has enjoyed a stellar career having also led his
club side to a Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble in
Another member of the German World Cup-winning team who could hang
up his international boots is 36-year-old striker Miroslav Klose.
Niersbach had indicated in Rio de Janeiro that he would be willing
to allow Klose to have a farewell appearance on home soil if the
Lazio man decided to quit and the same offer is highly likely to be
made to Lahm.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by John O'Brien)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.