Philipp Lahm: Bayern Munich legend's inch-perfect Champions League tackle on Samuel Eto'o

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Philipp Lahm celebrates his 38th birthday today.

The Bayern Munich legend is widely revered as one of the greatest defenders of the modern era, winning everything from the World Cup and Champions League across his decorated career.

However, what arguably makes Lahm stand out the most when compared to his other legendary contemporaries is his exemplary disciplinary record, which doesn't feature a single red card.

Happy birthday, Philipp Lahm

Even the most disciplined and well-meaning defenders struggle to go their entire professional career without at least one dismissal, particularly for largely forgivable instances like last-man tackles.

But alas, Lahm was such a professor of the art of defending that he never fell foul of the referee and that's despite the fact that he loved himself a slide tackle.

That's right, you'd be forgiven for looking at his disciplinary record at a glance and presuming that he simply never went to ground or took any risks, but that's simply not the case.

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Lahm's penchant for tackling

In fact, Lahm was so partial to a slide tackle that we recently named him as the greatest footballer in history when it comes to the method and that's because, well, he could do it so damn perfectly.

Even in the modern era of VAR, the eagle-eyed cameras and slow-motion replays would struggle to find fault in the pick-pocket tackles that you'd see from Lahm for both Bayern and Germany.

As such, in celebration of Lahm blowing out 38 candles on his birthday cake, we wanted to look back on one of his greatest ever tackles and we think that we've found the perfect example.

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Lahm's perfect tackle on Eto'o

Cast your minds back to the 2010/11 season where Bayern Munich secured a last-gasp Champions League victory at holders Inter Milan courtesy of Mario Gomez's snatch-and-grab winner.

However, if it wasn't for Lahm being the absolute master of the slide-tackle, the Bavarians could easily have found themselves conceding a penalty, down to 10 men and trailing 1-0 at the San Siro.

But this is Lahm we're talking about, so should we really be surprised that he managed to pinch the ball from Samuel Eto'o with such impeccable skill that the Inter striker jollily hugged him afterwards?

The answer, in case you're wondering, is a big fat 'no', so be sure to check out the tackle in all its majesty down below:

Although it's impossible to be certain about Eto'o's intentions after the tackle, his body language and expression certainly suggests that the handshake and hug was coming from a place of respect.

Lahm's superlative tackle on Navas

And we're not finished there because it would be rude not to show another Lahm masterpiece for good luck, wouldn't it? It is his birthday, after all.

As such, defending aficionados rejoice as we take another walk down the Champions League's memory lane by reminiscing on Lahm thwarting Jesus Navas at full speed like it absolutely nothing:

Montage of Lahm's greatest tackles

You want even more, you say? Alright then, well, here's an entire compilation of Lahm being one of the greatest tacklers of all time for you to feast your eyes upon down below:

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So, it's safe to say that the moral of the story is that Lahm knew pretty well how to tackle and it's doubtful that there's been another defence since he retired 2017 that come close to matching him.

And no matter where people might rank him amongst the greatest defenders of all time, Lahm can sleep easy knowing that his bloodless brand of tackling makes him entirely unique regardless.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

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