Philipp Lahm feels there can be no arguing Bayern Munich team-mate Manuel Neuer’s status as the best goalkeeper in the world.
The former Schalke shot-stopper has developed into a key figure at Bayern over the past few years, winning three Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, the Champions League and the Club World Cup since his move to the Allianz Arena, while also lifting the World Cup with Germany.
Lahm feels his compatriot has all the characteristics needed to succeed at the highest level and puts him ahead of other goalkeeping greats such as Gianluigi Buffon, Petr Cech, David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois.
“To be successful you need talent, technical skills, physical aptitude and an understanding of the game,” Lahm told The Times of India.
“Height and size aren’t crucial. If you want to play at the highest level, you need the first three skills but every outstanding player understands the game extremely well too.
“Neuer is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the game, but he has also had forgettable moments.
“In my opinion, Manuel is without doubt the best goalkeeper in the world and I wouldn’t want anyone else in my team.”
Lahm rose to prominence as a right-back, but has also featured in midfield under Pep Guardiola in recent seasons and he feels his versatility has been hugely beneficial to him throughout his career.
“The development of youngsters in the Bayern youth academy focused on versatility while I was there,” he added.
“I won the Under-19 championship as a midfielder. In other words, I was used to playing in different positions. I am convinced that my greatest strength is my understanding of the game.
“I was happy when Pep decided to field me in midfield. It reminded me of my youth and at the same time, it was a new challenge. It’s always fascinating to tackle new challenges. I believe that was also one of my strengths for the German national team: to be able to captain the team in midfield and then later as a right-back.”
The 32-year-old has a contract with Bayern until June 2018 and he has once more made it clear that he aims to stay at FCB until the end of his career, before potentially making the switch to a managerial position.
“My plan is to retire at Bayern,” Lahm stressed.
“I want to remain involved in football, but I’m not sure in which capacity . I really enjoy the organisational and managerial aspect of the game.”
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