Khan urges Lehmann to retire

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The Independent Football

Oliver Kahn has told Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann that he should retire in the wake of his recent escapades.

Kahn and Lehmann sustained a bitter feud for several years when they were both fighting for the Germany number one jersey, but they appeared to make peace at the 2006 World Cup when Kahn retired from international football.

Two years later, Kahn brought his glittering football career to an end just short of his 40th birthday, but Lehmann has carried on playing after turning 40.

But after he stole the wrong headlines this week, first for criticising his club and then for storming off at the end of their 1-1 draw with Mainz after receiving a red card and giving away a penalty, Kahn has advised him to bring the curtain down on his career now.

"Maybe it would be better for him to retire now," Kahn told the Az newspaper. "Who knows where things might yet lead.

"Jens is a good goalkeeper, but what should the management (at Stuttgart) think?

"There is no point to it anymore. Stuttgart's management have got to work out whether Lehmann is helping or damaging the team."

Lehmann will definitely miss Stuttgart's final Bundesliga fixture of 2009 against Hoffenheim due to suspension, although he may be banned for up to three matches.

He stamped on Mainz striker Aristide Bance's foot in the 86th minute of Sunday's game to leave his side with 10 men and give Mainz a penalty, which they converted for the final 1-1 scoreline.

However, after a talk with coach Christian Gross at training yesterday, it does not seem like Lehmann is going to follow Kahn's advice.

"I am convinced that Jens will be fully motivated after the preparation for the second half of the season and will do all he can to end his career on a high in the summer of 2010," said Gross.

Lehmann must still meet with the club's director of sport Horst Heldt when possible sanctions for his behaviour will be discussed, as will the 40,000-euro fine they imposed last week which the former Germany international has refused to pay.