Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm says he still expects to return to the club in the future despite appearing to frustrate their hierarchy in announcing his retirement.
Lahm announced on Tuesday that he would be retiring at the end of the season, a year ahead of the expiration of his Bayern contract.
The defender also revealed he would not take up a planned post of sporting director with the German champions, instead taking a sabbatical to reflect on a next move.
Thank you very much for all your messages. A day later, I’d like to explain my decision to you in detail: pic.twitter.com/Xz213rxM73— Philipp Lahm (@philipplahm) 8 February 2017
Bayern, though, revealed the 33-year-old's decision to retire had initially taken them by surprise and that they had expected to announce the news in a joint statement, rather than Lahm doing so personally.
Lahm attempted to provide some clarity by making a Twitter statement on Thursday, which read: "Having had a day to process my decision, I would like to share some more detailed thoughts regarding the choice to end my football career this summer.
"Just as with my retirement from the national team, I trust my inner senses. As a captain, it's very important for me to always deliver a top quality performance, and I realise that I won't be able to do so beyond this season.
"I have been a player for FC Bayern since the age of 11. Except for two years in Stuttgart, I have always worn the FCB jersey. Therefore, it is clear for me, that I will be working together again with FCB at some point in the future.
"As you all know, I am a person who likes to be prepared – this is why I'd like to take a step back in order to reflect on football as a whole and think about how best to make use of my expertise and experiences.
End of an career, end of an era
"I always approached this decision with a lot of thought. In comparison to my resignation of the DFB team, this one will mean the completion of my football career. I am glad to state my decision to you and to bring some clarity to the situation.
"For now, my focus lies completely on the remaining games. Surely, I will experience them more consciously than ever, knowing they are my last.
"We are in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup, we want to achieve the fifth consecutive championship in the league – and next week against Arsenal we will face a true performance benchmark. Huge goals and challenges ahead, so packmas [let's do it]!"
Lahm has won seven Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokal crowns, the Champions League, the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup during his Bayern career.