Pep Guardiola once hailed Philipp Lahm as the most intelligent footballer he has ever worked with - but the Catalan coach may not appreciate the Bayern Munich captain’s latest comments.
Lahm, writing in his column for Goal ahead of his 100th Champions League appearance, revealed he was happy his landmark game was against Juventus - “a big club with its own identity, big players and great characters.”
The full-back then spoke about other great clubs and players he has faced during his illustrious career, before taking a surprise dig at Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
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“I don't think you can buy a really great team with money, like Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City are trying,” Lahm commented.
City, of course, have recently secured the services of Guardiola, who will replace Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad Stadium this summer. One suspects the former Barcelona head coach won’t be overly impressed that a player he admires so much has spoken about his next employers using such uncomplimentary words.
Lahm reveals his thoughts on big clubs
It’s true that PSG and Manchester City have invested huge amounts of money over recent years, but it’s paid off for both clubs - and they are now big players on the European football scene.
Lahm, though, clearly has a different opinion.
“Looking back at my matches since 2002, there is one main criterion for me which marks a club that is successful in the long-term: big players, who grew with their clubs, whose names are tied to the success and who have a 100 per cent identification with the team, the club and its history,” he continued.
“When I think about the matches and competitions I immediately think about the clashes with these kind of clubs and their great players. With Barcelona it was Xavi and Andres Iniesta, with Real Madrid it was Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos.
“When I played for Stuttgart, I met Manchester United and Chelsea. With United I immediately think of the duels with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and with Chelsea it was John Terry. Those players are symbols of their clubs and the success they had at that time.
“I am convinced that all big teams had these symbols and I am convinced that future big teams need them as well. Big teams need a core of players who have their roots at their clubs, who grow with their clubs and who embody the culture. Representing it on the pitch and outside as well.”
“And that is why I am looking forward to meeting Juventus tonight,” Lahm added, “with players like Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon is Juve.
“It will be a match against a big club. My 100th match in the Champions League. In FC Bayern's jersey, that I've grown into since 2002.”
Bayern Munich will be Lahm's final club
It’s safe to assume that Lahm, who turned 32 in November, has no desire to join Guardiola at Manchester City next season.
The World Cup winner announced earlier this season that he will retire at the end of the 2017-18 campaign and, as a result, Bayern Munich will be his final club.
Did Chelsea not buy a great team with money?
Manchester City fans might be a little bemused that Lahm named Chelsea alongside the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Would the west London outfit have enjoyed so much success over the past decade without the millions of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich?
We’ll let you debate that in the comments section below.
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