Legendary Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (r.) faced Philipp Lahm many times, both at club and international level. - © © imago / Ulmer/Lingria
Legendary Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (r.) faced Philipp Lahm many times, both at club and international level. - © © imago / Ulmer/Lingria

Buffon, Schweinsteiger and Guardiola lead tributes to retiring Bayern captain Lahm

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and former teammates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos have led the tributes to Philipp Lahm following the Bayern Munich captain’s final match for the club.

Lahm retired from football after Bayern’s 4-1 win over Freiburg on the final day of the Bundesliga season and the 33-year-old’s standing in the game was soon highlighted by reaction from around the world.

Watch: Lahm bids Bayern a fond farewell

Buffon faced Lahm many times at both club and international level and the 39-year-old Juventus netminder recorded a video in order to praise the talented full-back.

“Dear Philipp,” Buffon said. “I heard that after winning every kind of trophy in your career you decided to stop.

“Well, what I want to tell you is that, for me, it’s been a big honour to play against you because every time you were very determined but also very fair. Good luck for the future in football or any other field of your life.”

NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki admired Lahm’s career from afar and the Dallas Maverick star also took to social media to praise his compatriot:

“Dear Philip, congratulations on your great, great career. International and national - you’ve won everything. You’re a World Cup winner too. So you can be super proud of everything you’ve achieved.”

Lahm was Germany’s captain when they won the World Cup in 2014 and with Bayern he won eight Bundesliga titles, the DFB Cup six times and the Champions League once.

Many of his ex-Germany and Bayern team mates, including Chicago Fire midfielder Schweinsteiger, made sure to wish Lahm well.

Schweinsteiger invited his old colleague to visit him in the United States now that he will have more time on his hands, while Real Madrid’s former Bayern midfielder Kroos also tweeted his admiration.

“One of the best I’ve played with is retiring today,” Kroos wrote. “Enjoy your retirement.”

Mesut Özil, another Germany international, also had some special words of praise for the brilliant Bavarian.

He wrote: “What a career! All the best for your future! #DankePhilipp #Worldchampion.”

- © gettyimages / Alex Grimm

Germany manager Joachim Löw, who lifted the World Cup with Lahm in Brazil, was also asked to reflect on the career of a player who made over 500 appearances for Bayern and won 113 caps for his country.

“Philipp is one of the best footballers ever,” Löw said. “Not just because he’s a World Cup-winning captain that puts him on the same level as Fritz Walter, Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus.

- © imago / ActionPictures

Many people had already paid glowing tributes to Lahm once he announced his decision to retire in February. Pep Guardiola, his former boss at Bayern, said that the versatile campaigner was “an exceptional person and exceptional player.”

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