German international defender Philipp Lahm is free to leave Bavarian giants Bayern Munich after the club announced on Tuesday that talks over his contract extension have broken down.
“Talks between Bayern and Philipp Lahm over the extension of his contract which expires on June 30, 2009 have been inconclusive,” the club said.
“As a result, Bayern have withdrawn the offer of a contract extension.”
The 24-year-old had indicated recently he would remain with the club and that it was only a matter of days before the deal was done.
But he told the weekly news magazine Stern on Tuesday that “it was possible” that he would leave the Bavarian club this summer.
“I've played for two years with Stuttgart, I'm finishing my third year at Bayern, the top German club, so the logicial progression is to go abroad,” he explained.
Lahm said that one of the reasons for his decision was that he doubted that Bayern could win the Champions League in 2009.
“There are in Europe a handful of clubs who have a financial power superior to that of Bayern.
“Their teams play with more rhythm and assurance than Bayern,” explained Lahm, who said he was interested in a move to England or Spain.
Lahm, who was a member of the German team that finished third at the 2006 World Cup, began his career with Bayern Munich, and was loaned by them to Stuttgart from 2003 to 2005.
During his career he has played 127 Bundesliga games, winning the league title twice in 2003 and 2006, and the German Cup in 2003, 2006 and 2008.
If he stayed Lahm would have been coached at Bayern next season by Jurgen Klinsmann, who gave him the first of his 39 Germany caps, in 2004.
But even the arrival of Klinsmann could not entice him to stay.
“My choice doesn't depend on the identity of the coach,” he added.
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