I bet the media was so happy when Lahm got back from his vacation ^^ I imagine it being almost as great as Christmas for them. In any case, here’s the interview he gave to TZ. Enjoy! (And a big ‘thank you’ to Lana for helping me out with this one.)
Philipp Lahm reveals: “That’s more fun than football.”
It is on a Monday morning, shortly after 9:30am, when Philipp Lahm, being in a good mood, arrives at the summer camp of his foundation. Three weeks have passed since the triumph at the World Cup. Three weeks, in which his wife Claudia and his son Julian didn’t have to share their husband and father with the whole world. The everyday life of FC Bayern’s captain will begin again on Wednesday when he and the other World Cup heroes join Pep & Co. in the USA. Prior to that, however, the 30-year-old took the time to visit 80 participants of the summer camp at the Maxhofen Castle in Bruckmühl. Lahm speaks to TZ about his love for children, handling the roles of a father and a professional, and about the unforgettable moments of the world championship.
Philipp, were three weeks of vacation enough for you to recharge your batteries?
Lahm: (laughs) They have to be enough, it doesn’t really help. The situation isn’t new for me. I was able to use the time I had with my family very well and to tune football out. Now it starts all over again, and I’m looking forward to a new season.
Has your son Julian kept you on your toes?
Lahm: Definitely. He’s almost two years old, at an age when he wants to experience and participate in everything. It was really nice to come home after six weeks in Brazil and see again Julian and my wife.
So, this visit to the summer camp, does it still count as vacation, or a return to everyday life?
Lahm: I’m still on vacation. For me, meeting kids here, at the summer camp, is a lot of fun.
The Philipp Lahm Foundation has been in existence for seven years. What is it about, what is important to you?
Lahm: The foundation takes care of children and teenagers. At the moment, we have two projects in South Africa and the summer camps in Germany. In every project, it’s all about development and sport. I’ve been very lucky in my life, and I was always encouraged. I know that’s not always the case for other children. That’s why I want to give back from my luck and make things possible for other kids.
Lahm: “Questions From Kids Are Always The Most Honest”
Because one can “cultivate” them the most?
Lahm: For me, children are of the highest importance, they have their whole life ahead of them. I believe it’s essential that kids are given an opportunity to try themselves [at different things]; that way they discover their strengths and take charge of their own life. The summer camp is obviously not a football camp, not everyone there likes to play football. It should be a camp for everyone. Here it’s about exercise, nutrition, and character development. For me, these themes are important for children because they (my note: the themes) have played a central role in my life, or still do.
Have they left a mark on you in your career?
Lahm: Yes, definitely. For me, it was always very important to continue to evolve personally. And at my job, exercise and nutrition went alongside each other, (it’s something with) which I have preoccupied myself intensively. During the workshops at the camp, we try to give kids assignments and teach them certain things in an interactive way. One of the assignments is to “build” your best friend. This is my favorite assignment because children have to think about how their best friend should act toward them, and if they, themselves, possess those qualities and are on a par with their friend. I find this reversal of roles very important.
How important to you is this personal visit?
Lahm: For me, while I’m walking by, it’s nice to see the children laugh and enjoy themselves. At every camp, I try to check up on them and bring them a bit more joy when I stand in front of them. It’s fun, and I gladly do it.
Has it become a routine, or it’s as exciting as always?
Lahm: Every time it’s interesting in a new way, in that questions from children are the most honest. Thus, I always have a lot, a lot of fun. By now, I’ve become familiar with all of this here, but there’s still something special. The summer camp is our biggest project.
Lahm: “Having your own kid changes everything.”
Are children interested in a man or a football player Philipp Lahm?
Lahm: In both. Different questions arise, among which there are, of course, many football-related questions. This time a kid asked me if I often eat chocolate bars. I answered, “Sure, I also eat sweets from time to time, that happens. Not five per day, though.” Or, I always remember a question from last year. Back then, a kid asked me why I was in commercials for “Nutella”. That’s unhealthy. I said, “I have never done it. Those were my colleagues from the National Team.” But I found the situation awesome. The fact that the kid remembered the commercial and noticed that I was telling them something else. It didn’t match up. Fortunately, I was able to make a revision in that case. (laughs)
You’ve been a father for almost two years. Since then, has your mindset toward the foundation changed? Do you feel more responsibility?
Lahm: Yes. When you have your own kid, you have much, much more responsibility. To me, even before that, the summer camp had been very important. However, it’s clear that when you become a father, you probably pay better attention to certain things.
Have you changed since then? Do you have different priorities?
Lahm: Yes. Your own kid changes everything. As an athlete, it is often so that one can always sleep a bit longer. For two years, our nights have been offset. My wife and I go to bed earlier, wake up earlier. But it’s incredibly fun, letting this change in, because that way we receive everything back from our kid. It’s very, very nice. (my note: basically, you get as much as you give.)
His Role As A Father Brings More Joy To Lahm Than Football
As a football player, can a person actually be considerate of the family?
Lahm: Only partially because the profession determines the schedule. We have our training sessions and matches. Sometimes we’re on the road for three days. But I try to use the time that is left as well as possible. It is something valuable and the most beautiful thing one can give to his family. I spend with them as much time as possible. And if I enjoy doing something, it’s important to take the time to do it.
There’s a phrase: football isn’t everything in life. Is time with the family nicer than with the National Team?
Lahm: (laughs) One can’t compare those two. I’ve had a great time with the National Team, especially in Brazil. It was always a lot of fun with the guys. I’ve had lots of awesome moments with “the wild ones”. However, my family is the most important thing to me. And at times, if something is going on, you want to be at home. Obviously, I love my job; I think it also shows on the pitch. It’s not like I’ve completely finished with football. I still enjoy it. But I’d be lying if I said that my role as a father doesn’t bring me even more joy.
Nowadays, is a man Philipp Lahm a bit more of a father than a professional?
Lahm: Yes. As a father, you do everything for your family. And if something happened, or if I had to make decisions, the family would always come first.
Lahm: “I haven’t been able to grasp the whole meaning of the World Cup title.”
As a professional, you have now achieved everything. Had you envisioned your career this way?
Lahm: No, that’s not at all how it is. First of all, one must become a professional. As a kid, it’s a dream. As a teenager, you notice that it can actually happen, then it becomes a goal. That’s how it always goes further. The first World Cup that I, as a kid, experienced in front of a TV was in 1990. We were world champions, and Lothar Matthäus lifted up the trophy. Me too, I then dreamed of becoming a world champion. But at the time, I couldn’t foresee becoming a player of the National Team and playing at the World Cup. And then actually winning the title.
Last year you already knew that the World Cup in Brazil would be your last. Had you already given up on your dream of becoming a world champion?
Lahm: I’m a realist, and after our triumph in the Champions League in 2013 I said that there are no guarantees in football. We made it to the final twice and lost twice. I always believed that we could become world champions. After the EC 2012, I also said that our goal must be to become world champions. On the other hand, though, I already knew that I could end my career in the National Team without the world title.
By now, have you already become fully aware of the triumph?
Lahm: It’s difficult to answer. I believe I’m aware of what we have accomplished. However, I also think that I will be able to truly grasp the scope of success only when I finish my career. I know that we’re world champions, and it feels superb. But the full meaning of this title I still haven’t really grasped.
“Winning the World Cup? Unbelievable!”
What was your most intense moment at the World Cup?
Lahm: The final whistle in the finale was a great moment. 120 minutes were up, and you’re only waiting for the referee to end the game, thinking, “Now, blow the final whistle at last.” And then comes a free kick from Messi, and I’m thinking, “If we get through this, it’ll be finally over.” But then the ball flew through the air once again till the game ended at last, and we knew: we are world champions. I believe the first person I saw was Manu. He, too, had tears in his eyes.
And what were you thinking about when you got to lift the trophy in the air, 24 years after Lothar Matthäus?
Lahm: Just this: unbelievable. I remember exactly how I stood up there and how the Chancellor congratulated. We are world champions. You certainly can’t grasp that at the moment, so I just thought, “Unbelievable!”
translation © unavis & Lana
It’s forbidden to use this translation without my consent.