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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 14:51 UK

World Cup 2010: Lahm bids to keep Germany captaincy

Friedrich celebrates Germany's fourth goal

Highlights - Argentina 0-4 Germany

Philipp Lahm wants to remain as Germany captain even if Michael Ballack resumes his international career.

An ankle injury ruled usual skipper Ballack, 33, out of the 2010 World Cup, handing defender Lahm, 26, the armband for the finals in South Africa.

"It's clear I would like to keep the captain's armband - I really enjoy the role," said Bayern Munich's Lahm.

Asked if the World Cup semi-finalists still needed Ballack, Lahm replied: "It's not for me to say 'yes' or 'no'."

Ballack has been with the Germany squad in South Africa but left late on Monday, two days before his side's semi-final meeting with Spain in Durban.

Ballack is still our captain and Lahm is now our World Cup captain - there is no discord

Oliver Bierhoff, Germany team manager

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff insisted there was no dispute between Lahm and Ballack and that the timing of the former's interview with German newspaper Bild was unfortunate because it coincided with the latter's departure.

"But there is no discord," stated Bierhoff. "We are pleased that Lahm has taken over the responsibility as captain. And what else can he say, except that he wants to remain captain?

"Ballack is still our captain and Lahm is now our World Cup captain."

Lahm explained that he felt there was no reason to relinquish the role voluntarily, adding: "When you fulfil your role on the pitch and have it under control, as I do in my position, then you want more.

606: DEBATE

"You want more responsibility, you want to take care of the big picture. And that is the case with me now."

Bierhoff said Lahm's statement had been "over-interpreted" in the published interview and that Ballack's departure was due to "logistic reasons" because he could not have the treatment he required in South Africa.

"Ballack also did not want to add an additional burden to the team's physiotherapists," Bierhoff continued.

Ballack has been a fixture in the Germany side since his goals helped them reach the 2002 World Cup final, and he had been captain since 2004.

The midfielder will return to German football next season after signing a two-year contract with Bayer Leverkusen following his release by Chelsea at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.



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see also
Podolski eyes revenge over Spain
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Argentina are bad losers - Lahm
01 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
England were not prepared - Lahm
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ballack rejoins Bayer Leverkusen
25 Jun 10 |  Chelsea
Lahm replaces Ballack as captain
28 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Germany career not over - Ballack
19 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Injured Ballack out of World Cup
17 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Chelsea linked with move for Lahm
15 Jun 06 |  Chelsea


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