Hoeness warns 'outstanding' Lahm against early retirement

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Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness insists that captain Philipp Lahm is still a critical part of the first team amid rumours that he could retire next year.

Speculation has emerged in Germany that the World Cup-winning defender is in line to become the club's new sporting director if he calls time on his illustrious playing career at the end of the season.

Hoeness, however, wants Lahm to see out his contract - which runs until 2018 - with the Bundesliga champions before any decision is made on a non-playing role for the 33-year-old at the Allianz Arena.

"I would prefer Philipp Lahm to fulfil his contract as a player until June 30, 2018," Hoeness, who was re-elected as club president last week, told Sport Bild. "He is still an outstanding player that we need on the pitch.

"By 2018, we would have had enough time to look at the rest of the ways in which Philipp could be active within the club."

A new report has suggested that Bayern will look to poach Max Eberl from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Monchengladbach, following his highly successful eight years as sporting director at Borussia-Park.

Hoeness refused to comment on the rumour but made it clear that he will happily advise chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on a suitable appointment.

"The decision on the post of sporting director falls to the board," he said. "Karl-Heinz Rummenigge knows, of course, that I am always available for advice."