The World’s Greatest

What a way to return to this blog! I have not abandoned it, no way, but I haven’t had enough time to write, comment, etc. And today is The Day.

Naturally, I’ve watched this World Cup. I, too, felt unsure about the way Lahm played in midfield. (Frankly, I prefer his “midfield” thing at Bayern to the same job at the NT. Overall, I choose him at RB/LB. As always. However, that’s not the point here.) He went back to his standard position, and once again I marveled at what I saw. Beauty. I have no other word for it at the moment. While cheering for Germany in the match against the host nation, I kept on repeating, “Beauty, beauty… The way he plays is beautiful.”

There are many people who inspire me, from family members to celebrities. Yet, I don’t know if there’s anyone, except probably my mom, who inspires or has inspired me more than Philipp Lahm. Reasons? Because he goes his own way, because he always knew exactly who he was, to name a few. The first time I heard Xavier Naidoo’s “Was Wir Alleine Nicht Schaffen”, I thought that the last two lines in this bit pertained to Lahm:

What we can’t accomplish alone,
We can achieve together.
And we don’t need any weapons:
Our weapon is our mind/intellect.

Now, I know he didn’t write it specifically about Lahm, but for me, those words have been associated with him ever since. Frankly, if I could date his brain, which intrigues me on and off the pitch, I would! I would even pay his brain to date me or at least consider dating me. (By the way, before the final, that was one of the songs to which I listened. The other being “The World’s Greatest” by R. Kelly, the song that has always been synonymous with Lahm. For me.)
Prior to the game, I read an article by Marcus Christenson. There were things I agreed with, and there were statements with which I disagreed, but one thing hit very close to home with me.
The former Brazilian full-back and World Cup-winning captain Carlos Alberto once said: “Sometimes Lahm is just breathtaking. He doesn’t make any mistakes. Is he a machine? No. Weber, Schulz, Höttges—in my day, they were machines. Philipp Lahm is an artist.”
(I don’t have the source for Alberto’s quote, so I just believed Christenson.)
I was glad that someone else had pointed out the same aspect I feel so strongly about. (I have most likely annoyed the heck out of every human being, that’s how often I repeat it.) I constantly say that watching Lahm play is like looking at a piece of art. It’s exquisite, intricate, mesmerizing. I never thought “the defense” could be an area suited for that kind of thing. But then he entered the stage, and the rest is history. Whenever people talk about how many passes he has completed, what his passing accuracy is, all of that certainly impresses me, but what fascinates me is the way he does it, so much so that I want to scream, “Did you, people, notice that?! Did you, did you?! Isn’t this divine?” And I saw it during this World Cup, too.
Hence, it’s always surprising to me to come across articles, such as Time to recognise the genius of Philipp Lahm, because I cannot believe it took people so long to discover something that had been there for a very, very long time. That being said, this is the passage I loved:

Yet few would ever consider describing Lahm as the best player in the world. That is a title exclusively preserved for players like Lionel Messi (his opposing captain in Rio de Janeiro), Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Neymar. It is a crown only attackers seem to be eligible to wear.

To many, that is because what they do is harder than what everybody else does. Theoretically, it takes more talent to unpick a packed defence, to find a corner from distance, and to slalom through the massed ranks of defenders. These are the men who provide the moments of magic that make football so exciting, the men who lift the sport beyond the ordinary and do things normal people couldn’t.

Perhaps that is true. It seems unfair, though, to suggest that what Lahm does somehow requires less talent and ability. To read a game, to have the instinct to understand exactly what is about to happen three, five, 10 seconds into the future: That is a gift. To be able to tune into the subtle rhythm of a game, to perceive the pattern of play, to twist it and contort it just a little to give your side an infinitesimal advantage: That is a gift. To make what you want to happen, happen: That, too, is a gift, and it is a gift Lahm has in abundance.

I can sing him praises that, I believe, he absolutely deserves, talking about his talent, his determination, his faith in the way he approaches matters, but I’m afraid of sounding like a broken record. I feel so privileged to be able to witness his career. And I feel so extremely proud of him (and the team, of course) for not only achieving one of his goals, for not only winning the World Cup, but also for doing it… well, for doing it his way.


  1. yoomigun · · Reply

    Hi, it’s really amazing to find such kind of blog full of writings about Philipp! I was (and forever) his fans since 2006, when Philipp scored his goal against Costa Rica (4-2). From that time, I collected his pictures from the newspaper and posted them on my locker room (I was a high school student that time). Now, since technology is more advanced, I actually tried to look for blogs about Germany (and Philipp). I can’t find one during world cup 2010. but now I found this! Thanks! Please keep writing!

    as for me, Philipp is not as spectacular as the other footballer. but that’s the point! he was just simple, and maybe hidden.. if I may say..

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment! I appreciate it.

  2. Hi! Thank you for writing this blog! Really enjoy reading it. Please don’t stop writing! :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words! I’ll make sure I do my best :)

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