I have been trying to find out where Lahm’s summer camps are held this year. At first, I thought they would do it in three cities. (Where did I get that from? No idea.) Needless to say, I was definitely excited about the program’s expansion. Now I’m thinking that I must have misunderstood the information, and there are three “shifts”/sessions for his Sommercamp, but all three will be/are in Munich.
Anyhow, he made his surprise visit as always, and Julian Buhl from the Abendzeitung was there with him, hence the interview. I hope you will enjoy it!
In this interview, Philipp Lahm talks about his summer camp, his son Julian, FC Bayern’s identity, Schweinsteiger’s farewell, his role within the team, and the games in Rio in 2016.
The kids were just too busy to notice the world champion. From 9-to-12-year-olds, they sat in a circle and put together those qualities that characterize a good friend. The ability to listen, be trustworthy, be a good playmate…
The fact that Philipp Lahm had already been standing behind them and eavesdropping became clear when a small boy turned around and declared, “Philipp Lahm is here!” The “Lahm” who had launched the Philipp Lahm Summer Camp (in partnership with FTI) and had “met” them through a short video during the week.
“Hello, may I sit down?” says Lahm in person. He was allowed to [sit down]. And then the questions began: from lost penalty shots to the triumph at the World Cup, or what one should do when he has to go to the restroom during a match. The kids wanted to know everything from Bayern’s captain, who answered patiently. Lahm’s arrival was the highlight of an exciting week at the summer camp. The AZ accompanied Lahm during his surprise visit and spoke exclusively with him.
AZ: Mr. Lahm, you’ve been organizing the summer camp, which isn’t a football camp, since 2009. Why?
Philipp Lahm: Because not every kid likes to play football. It’s divided into three categories: movement (exercise), nutrition, character. Those are three important topics from which – I’m convinced – all children can benefit if they engage in them.
How important is it for you, to take on a social responsibility?
Lahm: Very important. Over the course of my visit to South Africa in 2007, I saw a lot. I was a mentor with “SOS-Children’s Village” and visited townships. It’s apparent there how close [to each other] wealth and poverty can exist. I started my foundation based on that experience.
The foundation that now organizes the summer camp.
Lahm: Sometimes one forgets that there are also children here, in Germany, who grow up in difficult circumstances. Through projects like the summer camp, I would like to give back to these kids a bit of happiness I had with my family and my profession, which I’m allowed to continue pursuing. For me, that’s a “must” do. [my note: I translated it as “a ‘must’ do” but would like to make it clear that he’s not forced to do it; it’s just that he thinks it needs to be done, it’s his desire to do it.]
FC Bayern represents [the idea] of “Mia san Mia”. Does that theme applies in this case as well?
Lahm: Of course. Everything that I’ve experienced is present at this summer camp, the motto “Mia san Mia” as well. Here, it’s also about handling [things] independently and developing self-confidence that lasts. Moreover, children have to be in groups, work together and discover together.
Is there a better motivation than looking into these kids’ shining eyes?
Lahm: No, that’s another reason why I do this. So far, there have been only a few summer camps that I wasn’t able to attend; for instance, due to our son’s birth, or because I just came back from the World Cup. Other than that, I’ve always been here. It’s just fun to come here and make kids happy once again through a visit, and to see these smiles.
Your son will soon turn three years old. Do you play football with him every now and then?
Lahm: It happens occasionally. He knows what one can do with the ball: throwing and kicking. (laughs) The kids here are, of course, allowed to play football as well. But it’s not the main focus. The most important thing is to try a lot and, therefore, find out what you generally have fun doing.
Speaking of your son, will he become a fullback or a central midfielder?
Lahm: (laughs) No idea. We’ll see whether he has fun at all while playing football. At the moment, he likes to kick the ball around a bit. In my opinion, however, he shouldn’t become a football player.
Are there similarities or a big difference between Lahm-father and Lahm-the captain?
Lahm: Whew, that’s difficult to judge. I’m always me, whether now I’m captain or a father at home. Obviously, the roles are a bit different. One is just a profession, and the other is family. In both domains, I value communication.
How important is family to your career decisions?
Lahm: It plays a role, of course. One of the many reasons for my retirement from the National Team was the fact that I have a family. There is a difference between having back-to-back international matches in September, October, November, and simply staying at home. During a tournament, you’re away from your family for five weeks. I’ve always perceived the National Team as something special and nice, yet at some point there simply comes a time to stop.
With Bastian Schweinsteiger’s transfer, one role model left FC Bayern. Have the new hierarchies already been found?
Lahm: Naturally, that’s too bad when such a player and a character like Basti leaves. I have worked closely with him. Yet, there weren’t just the two of us. Manu, Thomas, David, Jérome (editor’s note: Neuer, Müller, Alaba, Boateng) have already been here for a long time, too. Altogether, I don’t see any problem because we have enough people who would gladly take on responsibility.
Is the Bavarian identity still guaranteed? With you and Thomas Müller on the team, there are still two real Bavarians, and Badstuber as a half-Münchner.
Lahm: It’s most certainly there because the club has players from its youth (teams). Similarly, one can count David Alaba in, although he’s Austrian. He’s already been here a long time and influences the club’s identity, too. It’s also clear that more players from the youth teams must follow in the future.
Those from Munich as well?
Lahm: Preferably from Munich. [my note: as in “it would be the best case scenario”; he does not discriminate against others here.] But it’s not that simple. We’re talking here about players who have to be at the top level where it comes to titles such as the Champions League title. The standard is high, and it’s not possible to have a full team of those from Munich only, who can play at the top level.
Pep Guardiola has announced that he wants to put you back at RB. Wouldn’t you like to further have more influence on the game in the center?
Lahm: In the past years, I’ve always influenced the team, whether as a right-back or in midfield. I have never made a secret out of the fact that I prefer to play in midfield, however I have already played at RB in recent years under Pep Guardiola. The situation isn’t new for me.
[my note: here’s where he got me confused at first. What “years”? Pep came to Bayern two years ago, isn’t that so? Well, I guess it’s plural… Alright. And what is that about him liking to play in midfield? I take it he prefers to play there now and doesn’t mean Lahm from, let’s say, 2012.]
The arrangement is such that you’re moving to the back, isn’t it?
Lahm: There’s no agreement. I will play where I’m the most useful to the team and exactly where the coach puts me.
Here, in “Philipp Lahm’s Summer Camp”, the kids figuratively travel to different stations of the world. Next year, there is also a potentially interesting travel destination for you: the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Lahm: I’m done with the National Team. Those who know me are aware of the fact that the decisions I make are well-thought-out, and from then on there’s no way back for me. Besides, I don’t belong to the generation for whom this tournament is actually designed. Someone mentioned my name, steered the media again. I, myself, have never expressed myself on the subject. However, that’s not a problem for me. [my note: yep, those who have been following him should know that when he makes something clear, it’s pretty much how it’s going to be.]
translation © unavis
It’s forbidden to use this translation without my consent.