-Smith: Time to recognise Lahm's genius
Lahm, 30, captained Germany to glory in Brazil -- playing every minute of every game as the Nationalmannschaft ended their 24-year wait for the trophy.
Sunday's World Cup triumph was the crowning moment of the 30-year-old's career, and seemingly the right time for him to bring an end to his days with the national team.
"Over the course of last season, I made my mind up that I was going to end my international career after the World Cup," Lahm said. "I informed Germany coach Joachim Low of this decision on Monday at breakfast. I am grateful and thankful that the end of my career coincides with winning the World Cup in Brazil with the national team.
"This morning, I bid farewell to DFB [German football association] president Wolfgang Niersbach and expressed my thanks to him for the excellent collaboration with the coaching team of Joachim Low, Hansi Flick, Andy Kopke and general manager Oliver Bierhoff as well as the entire team and all DFB employees for the past ten years.
"I have been on my holidays for three days and here I have the peace and time to conclude my international career also in my mind. Many heartfelt thanks for a wonderful time! Yours,Philipp Lahm."
"DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said: "Philipp called me this morning and informed me personally of this step. During our conversation, I realised very quickly that it would have made no sense trying to talk him out of his decision.
"He was not only an exceptional player for the national team in these 10 years, but was always a role model. I have thanked him for everything that he has achieved for the DFB."
The World Cup was the ninth trophy that Lahm had lifted in just two years, having previously claimed the Bundesliga (twice), the DFB-Pokal (twice), the UEFA Super Cup, the German Supercup, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup with Bayern since August 2012.
Lahm was installed as Germany captain for the 2010 World Cup, when Michael Ballack missed out due to injury. He was originally only meant to wear the captain's armband on a temporary basis, but Ballack failed to force his way back into the national team and Lahm has led his country since.
"There's hardly a better way to bid farewell than calling it a day as world champion, at the pinnacle of your career," Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on the Bavarian club's official website. "It's not going to be easy for the national team to replace Lahm as a player, person and captain." The DFB are aware of how hard that undertaking is going to be, although they have accepted it is something they will now have to attempt.
After lifting the World Cup, Lahm told Germany's Stern magazine: "Maybe it's going to take a few days, maybe a few weeks or months or maybe it will take a few years for the real meaning of this title to sink in.
"This is a gift; I can hardly sum it up in words. If ever I am named in the same breath as other great captains, then that will make me proud, but that's still a long way away."
Lahm's club and some of his former Germany teammates took to Twitter to pay tribute to his decade-long international career.
The captain is no longer on board: Philipp #Lahm has announced his retirement from international football. pic.twitter.com/RStVQvhKDo
- FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) July 18, 2014Ten years in the national team, three years for Bayern - Philipp It was a pleasure to play in one team with you.
- Lukas-Podolski.com (@Podolski10) July 18, 2014Philip Lahm retires from international football. Great servant for the national team and a well deserved World Cup winning captain.
- Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) July 18, 2014
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