A professional footballer from Germany, Philipp Lahm is considered to be the world best left-back at the moment. The captain of the German national team, Lahm is an extremely versatile defender who can play with either feet and on either flank, as the wing-back. With blistering pace, fantastic ball control and a keen brain for football, Lahm is the complete defender that any team could ask for.
Lahm began his playing career at local Munich side, FT Gern Munchen. He played at the team from a young age, till 1995, when he was spotted by scouts from Bayern Munich. Shifting to the Bayern youth team, Lahm had a wonderful time climbing up the ladder of one of the biggest clubs in Europe. From 1995 to 2003, he was part of the team’s youth squad.
His youth team coach was known to have said, “If Philipp Lahm cannot make it to the Bundesliga, nobody will anymore”.
In his first season with Bayern’s second team, Lahm impressed his coaching staff so much that he was named captain of the B-Team in his second season. Playing mainly as a defensive midfielder or right midfielder or right back, Lahm’s inclusion in the Bayern first team was delayed. This happened mainly because of the presence of Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu, both UEFA Champions League winners with Bayern Munich in 2002. So at the end of 2003, it was decided that Lahm would be loaned out to VfB Stuttgart.
Having played 60-odd games for Bayern, Lahm went on to play 53 games for Stuttgart, and became a permanent member of the first team despite being there on loan. His second year at Stuttgart was marred by injuries and Lahm only managed to play around 20-odd games in all competitions. In 2005, he returned to Bayern Munich however his return began in the medical rooms at Bayern.
He returned to full fitness by playing for the reserve team, and went on to make his first-team debut in November 2005. Sharing his playing time with Bixente Lizarazu, Lahm was forcing the Frenchman out of the team. The following season, Lahm had replaced Lizarazu as the primary left-back in the Bayern lineup.
The following season, the arrival of Marcell Jensen and the injuries and age of Willy Sagnol meant that Lahm would go back into his referred right-back role.
Despite interest and an almost-completed transfer deal with FC Barcelona, in 2008, Lahm re-signed with Bayern Munich until 2012. Today, Lahm is one of first names to go up on the Bayern team sheet before every match.
At the international level, Lahm represented Germany at the Under-21 level in 2003. The following year, he made his debut for the senior national team and has, since, played over 75 games for the team. His four goals include the opening goal of the 2006 World Cup, a spectacular effort against Costa Rica.
He has been part of the third-placed German team at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. Lahm was also a part of the 2008 UEFA European Championship’s runners-up team. On an individual level, Lahm was named to the All-Star team at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He was also named to the UEFA Team of the Year in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Lahm has also been awarded the Silbernes Lorbeerblatt, Germany’s highest sports honour, in 2006 and 2010.