At 29-years-old, Bayern Munich and Germany skipper Philipp Lahm is at the zenith of his career.
Recently described by Bayern manager Pep Guardiola as “the most intelligent player” he has ever worked with, Lahm has even featured as a central midfielder in the Catalan schemer’s plans.
A wing-back by trade- “the best in Bundesliga history”, according to ex-Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes, Lahm was at the heart of Bayern’s Treble success last season.
He is also the beating heart of the German national team, and ascended to the captaincy before the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, replacing Michael Ballack in a messy development that nobody in world football but Ballack found genuinely controversial.
On Friday night, Lahm will win his 100th cap for Germany in a World Cup qualifier against Austria.
Since his debut in 2004, every time he has played for his country he has been a starter, which says everything you need to know about his talent, ability and reliability.
Lahm will join 10 other German footballers with 100 caps to their names, and is surely on track to take the 150-cap record of World Cup winning skipper, Lothar Matthaus, before he hangs his boots up in the future.
Ahead of the game against Austria, Lahm was typically humble, and sought to downplay his milestone. Instead, he focused on his desire to repeat Matthaus’ feat at Italia ’90, by lifting the World Cup in Brazil next year.
“To win my 100th cap in Munich is a nice aspect,” Lahm said.
“It is important that we beat Austria, since we want to qualify for the World Cup as soon as possible.
“A title is the goal -- preferably in 2014.”