Berlin - Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has dropped the first hint that he may retire before his Bayern Munich contract expires in 2018.
The 32-year-old stepped down as Germany's skipper after leading them to their Brazil 2014 World Cup triumph, but he has suggested he may retire from all football within the next two years having spent his whole career with Bayern.
"My current contract runs until the summer of 2018. Of course, I am not getting any younger, only older, and as a professional sportsman, it is something you always have to question," Lahm told German daily Bild.
Also read: Pellegrini backs City to thrive in challenging title race
"If someone comes along who plays better in my position, or I realise that I can no longer keep up, then I would certainly have to deal with the fact that perhaps I should finish sooner."
Earlier this month, Lahm ruled out a future career in coaching, but has said he will keep close links with Bayern and the German Football Association (DFB) once his playing days are over.
"I am worried about what is coming. To be be back on the pitch every day is not what I want, because the work is similar and perhaps even much, much more than what I do now. I don't want that," he told Kicker.
"One should do what one knows best and for me that is definitely football.
"But I still have a few years left on my contract and we will see in which function I will work. There have been no concrete discussions yet."
Lahm will captain Bayern at Hamburg when the second-half of the German league season begins on Friday with Munich eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table.