Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that he will substitute Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso at the end of Bayern Munich’s match against Freiburg to allow the retiring pair one last standing ovation from the club’s fanbase.
Bayern legend Lahm and veteran midfield hero Alonso will hang up their boots for the last time after the 2016/17 Bundesliga champions complete their final game of the season on Saturday afternoon, and the affair promises to be an emotional day for the duo and the club as a whole.
Speaking at his final pre-match press conference of the campaign (via ESPN), Ancelotti explained his plans for the pair ahead of the contest and revealed just how emotional Friday’s training sessions had been for everyone within the first-team set up in Bavaria.
Philipp Lahm: “I’ve had time to enjoy the ending. I just hope that the fans will remember me as a good footballer.” pic.twitter.com/PLOPV9r7Fx
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 18, 2017
He said: “I’ll take them both off five minutes before time and let them celebrate with the fans.
“It was an emotional last training session with Lahm and Alonso today. Every trainer would love to have trained them and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to have trained them. They are both very professional and serious players. I’m a little sad to lose two such important players.”
Full-back and club captain Lahm, 33, has made 516 appearances for Bayern ever since he made his senior bow in November 2002, and the club legend has gone to enjoy a trophy-laden career with the German giants – lifting 21 titles during his 15-year career including eight top flight trophies, the 2013 Champions League and six DfB Pokal Cups.
Lahm, who was also amazingly adept at playing in the centre of midfield, had been earmarked for a backroom role within the club upon retirement but those plans were shelved after talks with the club’s president Uli Hoeness prevented him becoming the club’s newest sporting director.
Alonso, meanwhile, only joined Bayern in August 2014 from Real Madrid – where Ancelotti also coached the 35-year-old – but has become an integral part of the starting lineup at Bayern during his three seasons at the club.
The deep-lying Spanish playmaker has made 116 appearances for Bayern and lifted five trophies throughout his time at the Allianz Arena, and Ancelotti admitted that he had not worked with a finer midfield star during his managerial career than the 2010 World Cup winner.
He added: “It’s difficult to find a midfielder with this kind of quality, so technically and tactically good. I hope to have trained him for more than two years but this was destiny, and I was lucky to have two years with him.”
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Source : 90MIN