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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Michael Ballack, former Germany captain, retires at 36


Michael Ballack has announced his retirement from professional football.
The former Chelsea midfielder was released from Bayern Leverkusen in the summer and was thought to be in talks with clubs in Australia over a potential move to the A-League.
But the ex-Germany skipper has decided to call time on his illustrious career.
Ballack said: “At the age of 36, I can look back on a long and wonderful time in professional football.
“As a child, I could never have even dreamt of having such a career.
“It was a privilege working with first-class coaches and fantastic team-mates.
“Of course I am going to miss running out in front of 80,000 spectators or scoring goals.
“The last few months without playing football have shown me that the time had come to give it up.
“I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my life and would like to thank my family and all the amazing people who have supported me, pushed me and accompanied me.
“They have made a major contribution to my success.”
Ballack played 98 times for Germany but missed out on a century of caps when he was ruled out of the 2010 World Cup through injury and failed to fight his way back into the national team.
He began his career in 1995 and had successful spells at Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga before joining Jose Mourinho's Chelsea on a free transfer in 2006.
In four seasons with the Blues, Ballack won the Premier League, the FA Cup three times and the League Cup before leaving to rejoin Leverkusen in 2010.
His last appearance came in a 4-1 win over Nurnberg in May after the German side opted not to extend his contract.

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