Carlo Ancelotti to substitute Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso in final game
Carlo Ancelotti has said he will substitute Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso shortly before the end of Bayern Munich's final game of the season to allow fans an opportunity to pay their respects to both ahead of their retirement.
Bayern captain Lahm, 33, and former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Alonso, 35, will play the final game of their respective careers on Saturday against Freiburg, along with third-choice goalkeeper Tom Starke.
"I'll take them both off five minutes before time and let them celebrate with the fans," Ancelotti said at his final Bundesliga news conference of the season.
"It was an emotional last training session with Lahm and Alonso today. Every trainer would love to have trained them and I'm very proud to have had the opportunity to have trained them. They are both very professional and serious players. I'm a little sad to lose two such important players."
Ancelotti described Alonso, a player he also managed at Real Madrid where they won the 2013-14 Champions League together, as "a fantastic player and midfielder."
"It's difficult to find a midfielder with this kind of quality, so technically and tactically good," he said. "I hope to have trained him for more than two years but this was destiny, and I was lucky to have two years with him."
Asked about the prospect of the obligatory Weissbier celebration, in which Bayern players commemorate a Bundesliga title by showering the coach in lager from large glasses, Ancelotti said: "I'm ready but I have a small problem. My knee is kaput so I cannot run."
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.