Few players get to play for their hometown side, and even fewer are able to do so for the entirety of their playing career.
Philipp Lahm managed to do both while with Bayern Munich, and Saturday it was time for the veteran defender to call it the end of his storied career with the German giants.
Lahm and his Bayern side ended their 2016/17 Bundesliga-winning season in style on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over Freiburg, but with the league already won prior to kickoff, the momentous occasion was more about reflection for the 33-year-old Munich native.
“I definitely have mixed feelings at the moment, celebrating with the lads for the last time,” Lahm told Sky Deutschland following his final match.
“It’s an emotional day. I’ve experienced so much,” he continued.
For the better part of 16 years, Lahm has graced the pitch for Bayern as one of the club’s most sturdy and creative defenders despite his diminutive size. The outside back appeared over 500 matches for the 27-time German champions and captained the club since 2011.
Additionally, Lahm was a staple of the Germany national team throughout his storied career, making 113 appearances for his country, including traveling to three World Cups — with the 2014 edition resulting in a victory over Argentina in the final.
“It was my life being on the pitch and I especially enjoyed the times together with the team and the staff,” Lahm said.
“I’ll miss that of course. I’m looking forward to the time after but today it’s certain that it’s my last time with such a collective. I’ve always seen football as a big collective, setting goals for the fans and the staff. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most later.
“The past few days I had lots of distractions and training but today is very emotional. It’s very touching when teammates thank me for the time together.
“I am lucky to have been blessed by so many nice moments not just with the team but with the staff and the fans too. It was simply unbelievable.Follow @MattReedFutbol