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Michael Ballack (born 26 September 1976) is a German professional footballer, who is currently playing for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. He is among the top goal scorers in the history of his international team. Ballack has worn the number 13 shirt for every team he has played for except for Kaiserslautern. He was selected by Pelé as one of FIFA’s 100 Greatest Living Players, and as the UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year in 2002. He has won the German Footballer of the Year award three times – in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Ballack began his career as a youth at Chemnitz, his local team, and made his professional debut in 1995. Although the team were relegated in his first season, his performances in the Regionalliga the following season led to a transfer to Kaiserslautern in 1997. He won the Bundesliga in his first season at the club; his first major honour. He became a first team regular in 1998–99 season and also earned his first senior national cap for Germany. He moved to Bayer Leverkusen for €4.1 million in 1999. The 2002 season saw him win a slew of runners-up medals: Bayer Leverkusen finished second in the Bundesliga, German Cup, UEFA Champions League and Germany lost to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup Final.
A €12.9 million move to Bayern Munich led to further honours: the team won the Bundesliga and German Cup double in 2003, 2005 and 2006. Ballack had become a prolific goalscorer from midfield, scoring 58 goals for Bayern Munich between 2002 and 2006. He joined Premier League club Chelsea in mid-2006 and won his first English honours, the FA Cup and League Cup, in his first season at the club. Injury ruled out much of 2007 but he returned the following season, helping Chelsea reach their first ever Champions League Final.
Internationally, Ballack has played in the European Championships in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2006. Jürgen Klinsmann appointed him captain of the national team in 2004. Ballack scored consecutive game-winning goals in the quarter-final and semi-final to help his country to the 2002 World Cup final, and led his team to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup and the Euro 2008 Final.
Michael Ballack was born in Görlitz, a town in the historical region: Upper Lusatia and Silesia, present-day in the Free State of Saxony. He is the only child of Stephan and Karin Ballack, an engineer and a secretary. The family moved to Karl-Marx-Stadt when Ballack was very young and it was there that he started to play football.Club career
Michael Ballack’s parents sent him to train with the side when he was seven years old. He later moved on to FC Karl-Marx-Stadt (renamed Chemnitzer FC in 1990). His father had played second-division football himself in Germany. Unusual for his early age was Ballack’s ability to use both feet with equal authority.
In 1995, Ballack earned his first professional contract, thanks to his performances in the role of central midfielder. He was dubbed the “Little Kaiser“, in reference to Franz Beckenbauer, who was nicknamed “Der Kaiser“. His professional debut came on 4 August 1995, on the first day of the new 2. Bundesliga season. Chemnitz lost the game 2–1, against VfB Leipzig.
At the end of the season, during which Ballack made fifteen appearances, Chemnitz were relegated to the multi-tiered, regional third division. On 26 March 1996, Ballack made his debut for Germany’s Under-21 side.
The following season, Ballack became a regular first-team player as Chemnitz missed out on an immediate return to the Bundesliga. He did not miss a game and scored ten goals for the “Sky Blues”. It was not enough for Chemnitz to be promoted, but in the summer of 1997, coach Otto Rehhagel of just-promoted 1. FC Kaiserslautern signed Ballack at their return to top flight football.
It was during the seventh game of the 1997–98 season, away to Karlsruhe, that Rehhagel decided to throw Ballack into the Bundesliga for the first time, if only for the final five minutes of the encounter. On 28 March 1998, Ballack made his first-team debut against Bayer Leverkusen.
Ballack made 16 appearances for his new team during the season as the club became the first-ever newly promoted team to lift the league title. In the following season, Ballack became both a regular (he made 30 appearances, scoring four goals) and one of the side’s leading players. Kaiserslautern reached the quarter finals of the Champions League, but were knocked out by Bayern Munich.
On 1 July 1999, Ballack moved to Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 22, for a transfer fee of €4.1 million.
It was at Bayer Leverkusen that Ballack made his breakthrough. Coaches Christoph Daum and Klaus Toppmöller granted him an attacking role in the midfield. Ballack was instrumental to the success of Leverkusen, scoring 27 goals in the league and nine in Europe over the course of his three seasons at the BayArena.
In 2000, Bayer Leverkusen needed only a draw against minnows Unterhaching to win the title, but an own goal by Ballack helped send the team to a crushing 0–2 defeat, while Bayern Munich clinched the title with a 3–1 victory over Werder Bremen. 2002 was a season of disappointment for Bayer Leverkusen. In the German Bundesliga, the team surrendered a five point lead at the top of the table over the last three games of the season to finish second behind Borussia Dortmund, lost the UEFA Champions League final 2–1 to Real Madrid, and lost the German Cup final 4–2 to Schalke 04. These three runner-up finishes were dubbed a “Treble Horror”.
Ballack and Leverkusen teammates Bernd Schneider, Carsten Ramelow, and Oliver Neuville were even beaten finalists with Germany in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, although Ballack was suspended for the final itself. Ballack finished with 17 league goals, and his performance over the season led to him being voted into the UEFA.com users’ Team of 2002 as well being named German Footballer of the Year.
In spite of Real Madrid‘s interest, Ballack decided to sign with Bayern Munich in a €12.9 million deal in 2002 after his impressive performances in the World Cup. Bayern won the Bundesliga in his first season with 75 points, they also won the German Cup. In his second season however, Bayern lost their Bundesliga crown to Werder Bremen along with the cup.
In his third season with the Bavarians, Ballack enjoyed success in the 2004–05 season as Bayern Munich completed another double. New coach Felix Magath stated he was the only automatic starter in their midfield. In four seasons at Bayern, Ballack won three Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal doubles and scored 47 goals in 135 matches. Between 1998 and 2005, Ballack notched up 61 goals in his domestic league.
However, Ballack’s critics noted his frequent “choking” in important Champions League matches. This resulted in open public criticism from club general manager Uli Hoeneß, communications director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and club president Franz Beckenbauer, all former Bayern players. Beckenbauer later went as far as to accuse Ballack of “saving his strength” for prospective employers after Ballack turned in an average performance in the 2006 DFB Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Ballack agreed to join Chelsea on a free transfer on 15 May 2006. During his last season as a Bayern player there were rumours of interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid, Internazionale and A.C. Milan, but Ballack instead chose to go to Stamford Bridge. Shortly after arriving at Chelsea, Ballack stated that he hoped to end his career at Chelsea.
Ballack’s debut for Chelsea came on 31 July 2006, during a practice match at UCLA‘s intramural football pitch. Chelsea presented him to the media the following day where the club also gave him his favoured number 13 shirt, worn throughout his career. Upon doing so, William Gallas, who previously wore the number 13 shirt for Chelsea, was given the number 3 shirt. This move created animosity between Gallas and the club as Gallas felt that he was underappreciated. On 27 August 2006, Ballack earned his English League debut for Chelsea against Blackburn Rovers, and made his UEFA Champions League debut for Chelsea against Werder Bremen on 12 September 2006.
Ballack scored his first goal for Chelsea in the later match against Werder Bremen. He received his first straight red card of his career in Chelsea’s 1–0 win over Liverpool on 17 September 2006, after being judged to have stamped on Mohamed Sissoko‘s leg. Ballack scored his first goal in the English League on 21 October 2006 against Portsmouth at home with a header. His first FA Cup goal came in the 109th minute in a match against Blackburn Rovers on 15 April 2007. This goal resulted in Chelsea progressing into the FA Cup final. He scored eight goals in all competitions for the club in the 2006–07 season, including a free-kick against Everton at Goodison Park, as well as a half-volley against F.C. Porto which sent Chelsea through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. Throughout his first season at Chelsea, Ballack was criticised for his lethargic performances – for playing as though he had “a huge cigar in his mouth”.
On 29 April 2007, Chelsea released a statement on their official website, informing fans that Ballack had undergone ankle surgery in Munich. As a result of the surgery, Ballack did not play in the FA Cup Final against Manchester United, which Chelsea won 1–0 through Didier Drogba‘s extra time goal. This was Ballack’s second trophy this season, his first being the League Cup, the final of which he started.
Despite persistent rumours in the summer 2007 transfer window, Ballack denied that he wanted to leave and no such move materialised. Chelsea left Ballack out of their Champions League squad for the 2007–08 group stage as they realised that his injury would prevent him from playing any useful part and preferred to select the fully fit Steve Sidwell. The German international had an ankle operation in the summer and Chelsea could not take the risk of him not regaining full fitness before the end of the Group Stage. Thus, Ballack could not play in the Champions League before the knockout stages began in February. The club was only able to select 23 out of a possible 25 players for their Champions League squad due to the new UEFA regulations on ‘association-trained players’ and ‘club-trained players’. Due to this regulation, Chelsea were also unable to select young player Scott Sinclair and could only pick 23 players as their only ‘club-trained player’ was John Terry. For this reason, it was deemed unwise to gamble on Ballack being fit at some point.
Ballack was absent for eight months with an ankle injury, during which he feared that his football career might be in danger of ending as he was getting older. He made his return to the side in Chelsea’s 2–0 League Cup win over Liverpool on 19 December 2007. Ballack tallied an assist late in the game to striker Andriy Shevchenko. On 26 December 2007, Ballack made his league return in a thrilling game against Aston Villa which ended 4–4. He came on for Frank Lampard in the 26th minute after the latter had picked up a thigh injury. In first-half stoppage time, he won a penalty after being brought down in the box by Zat Knight, which Andriy Shevchenko converted. In the 88th minute, with the score tied at 3–3, Ballack stepped up to take a free-kick, which he buried into the bottom left corner of the goal, but the match ended in a 4–4 draw.
Ballack captained the Chelsea team in the absence of captain John Terry and vice captain Frank Lampard in a 2–1 win over Newcastle United on 29 December 2007. Ballack then played his 50th game in a Chelsea shirt in a 2–1 win against Fulham in which he scored the winning goal for Chelsea. He also scored the only goal that won the match for Chelsea against Reading to extend the blues’ winning streak to a record of nine. And, on 5 March 2007, he scored again, this time against Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in a 3–0 win. He scored the winning goal in the 2–0 win in the 2nd leg of the Quarter-Finals against Fenerbahçe, a victory that secured Chelsea a place in the Semi-Finals.
Ballack continued to score vital goals and, on 26 April 2008, he scored a header and a penalty to give Chelsea a 2–1 win over Manchester United. He was named Man of The Match for his performance. It brought the two teams level in the race for the Premier League title only two matchdays before the end of the season.
The season ended on a low note for Ballack as Chelsea finished runners up in the League Cup, Premier League and UEFA Champions League. This completed another treble horror for Ballack and his club. On 29 June 2008, Germany, captained by Ballack, lost to Spain 1–0 in the final of the UEFA Euro 2008 championship. This became the second season in Ballack’s career that he was runner-up for four major trophies.
The 2008–09 season started well for Ballack, he set up Joe Cole to score the first goal in a 4–0 win over Portsmouth in the first game of the season. Ballack was injured shortly after missing the games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Ballack’s return from injury has been a lift for Chelsea as he set up Deco to score a scissor kick in a 2–0 win against Bolton Wanderers. Ballack’s first goal of the ’09 season came against Southend United in their FA Cup replay, a match which Chelsea went on to win 4–1. Ballack’s first Premier League goal of the ’09 Season came on 11 April 2009 in a match against Bolton Wanderers, ending 4–3 for Chelsea. He came on as a second half substitute as Chelsea won the 2009 FA Cup Final. On 2 June 2009, Ballack signed a one-year contract extension with Chelsea.
In Chelsea’s second game of the season, away at Sunderland, Ballack scored his first goal of the 2009–10 campaign in their 3–1 win. Ballack also scored against Burnley in a 3–0 win. Ballack made his Champions league appearance against Portuguese side Porto. On 20 September 2009, he scored his third league goal, against Tottenham Hotspur. On 17 January 2010, he scored his fourth league goal and third assist in a 7–2 win against Sunderland. In Chelsea’s fifth round FA Cup tie against Cardiff City, Ballack scored the goal which put the Blues back in front and they comfortably saw the Bluebirds home 4–1 in the end. He was sent off in Chelsea’s 4–2 defeat against Manchester City on 27 February 2010. Chelsea went on to win the 2009–10 Premier League, Ballack’s first league title in England. He also started as Chelsea were victorious in the 2010 FA Cup Final, however he would come off injured shortly before half time.
Return to Leverkusen
On 25 June 2010, Michael Ballack signed a two year contract with Bayer Leverkusen. On 19 August 2010, he scored the first goal for Leverkusen in a 3–0 win against Tavria Simferopol in the Europa League qualifiers. On 6 October 2010, it was announced that Michael Ballack would not play again in 2010 at the club or international level due to a shin injury sustained 11 September 2010 in a Bundesliga match against Hannover 96. Ballack came on for Simon Rolfes on 20 February 2011 against VfB Stuttgart, Leverkusen won the match 4–2. Ballack scored his second Europa League goal against Metalist, Leverkusen won 2–0, with 6–0 on aggregate moving on to the last 16. Ballack played the full 90 minutes against Schalke assisting Eren Derdiyok to score, Leverkusen went on to win 2–0 with another goal from Christoph Metzelder.
On 26 March 1996, Ballack debuted for the national U21 team against Denmark, shortly after signing for Chemnitz. In all, he played 19 matches for this side, scoring four goals. Then, following his move to Kaiserslautern, national coach Berti Vogts called him up to the senior team.
Ballack only played 63 minutes at the UEFA Euro 2000 championship. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he scored in matches against the United States and South Korea during the knock-out rounds as Germany reached the final. However, he was booked for a tactical foul during the semi-final match against South Korea and was suspended for the final which Germany went on to lose 2–0 to Brazil. He was included in the World Cup All Star Team.
In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he was unable to start in Germany’s first game against Costa Rica due to a calf strain, but appeared in the following five matches. Germany was eliminated in the semi-finals, but they managed to clinch 3rd place in a match against Portugal. He was named Man of the Match in the games against Ecuador and Argentina, and was included in FIFA’s World Cup All Star Team for a second consecutive time.
On 6 February 2008, Ballack played his first match since returning from injury in a 3–0 friendly win over Austria.
Ballack started and captained Germany‘s first game of the UEFA Euro 2008 championship against Poland. He proved to be an influential figure in the midfield as Germany came back from a shock defeat to Croatia to make it to the final, scoring a free kick against Austria to secure Germany a 1–0 win and a place in the quarter-finals. In the quarter-finals, he scored a controversial header against Portugal to make the score 3–1 in their 3–2 win after an assist by Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s 60th minute free kick, helping Germany to advance to the semi-finals. Germany went on to beat Turkey 3–2 in the semifinals. Prior to the final, Ballack sustained a calf injury but eventually overcame it in time. However, Germany ended up losing 1–0 to Spain. Nevertheless, he was named in the Team of the Tournament.
Ballack can boast that, dating back to June 2005, Germany has never lost a game when he has scored. He scored 4 goals in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. However, he missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup following a foul by Kevin-Prince Boateng in the FA Cup Final that caused an ankle injury. Boateng is a former Germany U21 player and half-brother of current German international Jérôme Boateng. Kevin-Prince Boateng went on to play for Ghana against the German team in the World Cup group stages. He has so far not been recalled to the national side.
As of 2 March 2011 (2011 -03-02)[update]
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
- Scores and results list Germany’s goal tally first:
- Premier League: 2009–10
- FA Cup: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10
- League Cup: 2006–07
- FA Community Shield: 2009
- UEFA Champions League: Runner-up 2007-08
- UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year: 2002
- German Footballer of the Year: 2002, 2003, 2005
- FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament: 2002, 2006
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2004, 2008
- FIFA Confederations Cup Silver Shoe Winner: 2005
- FIFA 100
- ^ “Statistics”. Premier League. http://www.premierleague.com/staticFiles/c2/3b/0,,12306~146370,00.pdf. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- ^ “Michael Ballack Official profile”. http://www.michael-ballack.com. 16 January 2009. http://www.michael-ballack.com/?201A1A2. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
- ^ “Balanced Ballack is the finished article”. London: telegraph.co.uk. 7 March 2006. Archived from the original on 25 December 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071225161711/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IQHQLL3FDUNN5QFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/sport/2006/03/07/sfnbal07.xml. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- ^ “Rummenigge: Ballack Deal Done”. sportinglife.com. http://www.sportinglife.com/football/premiership/chelsea/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=soccer/06/04/29/SOCCER_Ballack.html&TEAMHD=chelsea. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- ^ “Chelsea announce Ballack capture”. BBC Sport. 15 May 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/4769763.stm. Retrieved 15 May 2006.
- ^ “Ballack to keep suitors waiting”. BBC Sport. 16 November 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/4442022.stm. Retrieved 15 May 2006.
- ^ Hatherall, Chris (3 August 2006). “Mourinho gives Ballack Gallas’ lucky No 13 shirt”. London: The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/mourinho-gives-ballack-gallas-lucky-no-13-shirt-410302.html. Retrieved 28 November 2008.
- ^ Hansen, Alan (27 November 2006). “Time for Ballack and Shevchenko to deliver”. London: The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/alanhansen/2351183/Time-for-Ballack-and-Shevchenko-to-deliver.html. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- ^ “Ballack’s Chelsea future in doubt as Mourinho axes him from Europe squad”. The Daily Mail. 4 September 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-479754/Ballacks-Chelsea-future-doubt-Mourinho-axes-Europe-squad.html. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- ^ “Ballack told: Leave Chelsea to save your career”. The Daily Mail. 11 September 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-481162/Ballack-told-Leave-Chelsea-save-career.html. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- ^ “Ballack moves to end Real rumours”. The Daily Mail. 6 August 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/6920067.stm. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- ^ “Blues omit Ballack from Euro list”. BBC Sport. 4 September 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/6977063.stm. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- ^ “The Official Chelsea FC Website”. http://www.chelseafc.com/xxchelsea180706/index.html#/page/ArchiveNews/list_2210603_170. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- ^ “Ballack deal agreed”. http://www.chelseafc.com/page/LatestNews/0,,10268~1685169,00.html. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- ^ “Tevez sinks Blues”. ESPN Soccernet. 27 February 2009. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=270045&cc=5739&league=ENG.1. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- ^ “Chelsea break records to win title”. ESPN Soccernet. 9 May 2009. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=269758&cc=5739&league=ENG.1. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- ^ “Joe Cole and Michael Ballack to leave Chelsea”. BBC Sport. 9 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/8729993.stm. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- ^ “Leverkusen prove too strong for Metalist”. UEFA.com. 24 February 2011. http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/matches/season=2011/round=2000129/match=2003798/postmatch/report/?autoplay=false. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- ^ “Leverkusen narrow gap on Dortmund”. dw-world.de. 20 March 2011. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,14926548,00.html. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- ^ “Player Profile Page – BALLACK Michael”. fifaworldcup.yahoo.com. http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/player/177667_BALLACK_Michael.html. Retrieved 9 July 2006.
- ^ “DFB: Ballack fällt für die WM aus” (in German). ZDF. 17 May 2010. http://fussball.zdf.de/ZDFsport/inhalt/2/0,5676,8072706,00.html?dr=1. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
- ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (4 June 2006). “Meet the real footballers’ wives”. London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2006/jun/04/worldcup2006.sport37. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
- ^ “Personal data”. Official website. http://www.michael-ballack.com/?201A1A2. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Michael Ballack|
- Michael Ballck Player Profile, Stats and Analysis at Footbalistic
- Profile on Chelsea F.C. website
- Official website (German) (English)
- Michael Ballack career stats at Soccerbase
- ESPN Profile
|Alternative names||Ballack, Michael|
|Date of birth||1976-9-26|
|Place of birth||Görlitz, East Germany|
|Date of death|
|Place of death|