One can’t buy a great team: Footballer Lahm

Turin, Feb 23 (IANS) Veteran German footballer Philipp Lahm believes that no one can buy a great team like what top European clubs like Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain are trying to do.

Both Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain shot into prominence after being taken over by oil-rich sheikhs from the Gulf countries. Manchester City have been bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group which is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a royal family member of the United Arab Emirates.

Paris-Saint Germain on the other hand, are controlled by the Qatar Investment Authority, which is owned by that country’s royal family.

Since their respective takeovers, both clubs have gone on a spending spree, buying up the best players available as their Arab owners seek to buy instant success.

But Lahm feels that hard work and the determination to succeed matters more in football than a fat wallet.

“I don’t think you can buy a really great team with money, like Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City are trying. Inter Milan would never have been the same club without Paolo Maldini or Franco Baresi and they certainly would have never had the same amount of success,” Lahm wrote in a column for Goal.com on Monday.

“When two big teams meet on the big stage, there are certainly two expensive teams with a huge amount of individual quality. In the end the club that will win the game is the one that has more players on the pitch who want success no matter. And not only for themselves, but for their clubs too,” the World Cup winning captain said.

German football giants Bayern Munich captain Lahm will make his 100th Champions League appearance when his side face Italian club Juventus on Tuesday night in a round of 16 clash.

Speaking on his 100th Champions League appearance, he said, “Tonight I will play my 100th match in the Champions League. A number which I consider impressive, even though in general I do not care for statistics and records that much. But this number makes me feel very thankful, I know that many pieces have to fall into the right place to go down this road in sport.”

“And I am even more happy that I may play this special match against Juventus. A big club with its own identity, big players and great characters. When I think about the matches and competitions I immediately think about the clashes with these kind of clubs and their great players. With Barcelona it was Xavi and Andres Iniesta, with Real Madrid it was Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos,” the 32-year-old said.

When asked about the high-voltage clash with Juventus, the 2013 Champions League winner said, “When we won the Champions League in 2013, we managed to do it with a team that had worked for that success for years. A team that wanted to win it. Not only for them, but for their club as well.”

“And I count Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in on this one. Over the last years, they have internalised Bayern’s identity. Identification is not a matter of nationality. It is a matter of admitting to something completely. And that is why I am looking forward to meeting Juventus tonight, with players like Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon is Juve,” Lahm concluded.

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