Former Chelsea & Bayern star Ballack announces retirement
Former German international Michael Ballack has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect. The 36 year old was released by Bayer Leverkusan at the end of last season and has failed to find a club.
Ballack has had a long and illustrious career winning league titles in Germany and England as well as various cups.
“At 36 years old I can look back on a long and wonderful time in professional football, which I could never have dreamed of as a child,” Ballack said in a statement released by his lawyers.
“It was a privilege to work with world class coaches and fantastic players. Now I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life.”
Ballack started his career at Chemnitzer FC, before moving to Kaiserslautern where he won his first league title in 1998. His impressive performances earned him a deal at Bayer Leverkusen where in the 2001-02 season he faced a series of near-misses.
Leverkusen finished second in the Bundesliga, runner-up in the Champions League final against Real Madrid, and lost in the final of the German Cup. Ballack suffered more heart break as Germany finished runners-up to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup and to add further insult to injury Ballack was suspended for the final.
The following season he moved to Bayern Munich where he enjoyed more success as his new side managed to capture three league titles in his five seasons at the Allianz Arena.
Ballack then moved to Chelsea in the 2007-8 season, where his rotten luck continued when the Blues finished runner up to Manchester United in both the Premier League and the Champions League.
He then captained his side to a 1-0 defeat in the Euro 2008 final against Spain. He did enjoy a fruitful end to his Chelsea career by capturing the club’s first ever double securing the Premier League by thrashing Wigan 8-0 then beating Portsmouth 1-0 to win the FA Cup.
But for Ballack it was a sweet and sour moment as he was injured in the final which ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup and ending any hopes of playing for the national team again.
The midfielder then joined Bayer Leverkusan for one more sojourn in a two year deal but failed to recapture the form that saw him picked for Germany.
Ballack; born in the same week as Ronaldo, Francesco Totti and Andriv Shevchenko, has enjoyed a great career and will be remebered as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.