Carlo Ancelotti tried to change Philipp Lahm’s mind before the Bayern Munich captain announced his intention to retire at the end of this season.
Former Germany skipper Lahm caused considerable surprise by confirming the current campaign will be his last when he spoke to reporters in the aftermath of Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal.
The 33-year-old, who made his 500th Bayern appearance against Schalke last weekend, stated he was unsure whether he would be able to retain his best form beyond May.
Speaking at a news conference to preview his side’s trip to Ingolstadt on Saturday, head coach Ancelotti confirmed it was Lahm’s commitment to maintaining his high standards that featured prominently in their own discussions.
“I spoke to Philipp and tried to convince him,” said the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss. “But he said he wants to give 100 per cent and not just 90.
“We have to accept this and he will be professional until the end. It is very difficult to find a defender like Lahm. But that’s a problem for next season.”
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) February 10, 2017
Bayern have already managed to secure other seasoned performers for next season in the form of wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, and Ancelotti hopes veteran midfielder Xabi Alonso will follow suit despite speculation he will join fellow World Cup winner Lahm into retiring.
“We have no problems with Robben and Ribery, they are here next season,” Ancelotti said.
“With Alonso, I do not know. This will be decided in the coming months. I hope he can stay here.”
With a chuckle, the Italian added: “Next season, we will play again with 11 players… I hope.”
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