Former Chelsea midfielder Ballack announces retirement
Wednesday 03 October 2012
Michael Ballack has called time on his playing days, drawing an end to a career that took in Bayern Munich and Chelsea as well as numerous trophies and international appearances for Germany, the Daily Mirror has reported.
Ballack was released by Bayer Leverkusen over the summer and had failed to find a new club. There was talk the 36-year-old could move to Australia’s A-League and while the Mirror adds that the midfielder received a number of offers from interested clubs, he instead chose to hang up his boots.
In a statement, Ballack said: “At the age of 36, I can look back on a long and wonderful time in professional football… 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.”
Born in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ballack began his career in 1995 with Chemnitzer FC, where he played for two years before a move to Kaiserslautern. Ballack won his first Bundesliga title with the club in 1997-98 but was soon on the move again, joining Leverkusen for the first time in 1999.
Ballack twice came close to winning the Bundesliga with Leverkusen but the trophy evaded them both times, first losing out on the final day of the 1999-00 season to Bayern Munich, then to Borussia Dortmund in 2001-02. The same year as that latter disappointment saw Leverkusen reach the Champions League final, where they were bested by Real Madrid.
Munich swooped for Ballack in 2002 and three more Bundesliga titles arrived before a free transfer to Chelsea four years later, where Ballack won the League Cup, the FA Cup three times and the Premier League, in 2009-10.
At the end of his time at Stamford Bridge, Ballack returned to Leverkusen in 2010 for two more years, playing almost 50 games in his second spell to bring his career total to almost 600 appearances and nearly 150 goals.
Internationally, Ballack won 98 caps for Germany and captained the side on numerous occasions, representing his country at a home World Cup in 2006, but he missed Germany’s appearance in the final four years earlier after being booked for a foul in the semi-final.
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