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Michael Ballack

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Michael Ballack biography

Michael Ballack (born 26 September 1976) is a German professional Association football, who is currently playing for Fußball-Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

At the end of the season, during which Ballack made fifteen appearances, Chemnitz were relegated to the multi-tiered, regional Fußball-Regionalliga. On 28 March 1998, Ballack made Michael Ballack first-team debut-start against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Ballack made 16 appearances for Michael Ballack 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 in the league) and one of the side's leading players. Kaiserslautern reached the quarter finals of the Champions League, but were knocked out by FC Bayern Munich.

On 1 July 1999, Ballack moved to Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 22, for a transfer fee of €4.1 million.

Bayer Leverkusen

It was at Bayer Leverkusen that Ballack made Michael Ballack breakthrough. Coaches Christoph Daum and Klaus Toppmöller granted Michael Ballack an attacking role in the midfield. Ballack was instrumental to the success of Leverkusen, scoring 27 goals in the league while Bayern Munich clinched the title with a 3–1 victory over SV Werder Bremen. 2002 was a season of disappointment for Bayer Leverkusen. In the German Fußball-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 C.F., and lost the DFB Cup 2001-02 final 4–2 to FC Schalke 04. These three runner-up finishes were dubbed a "Treble Horror". And Bayer Leverkusen was dubbed "Bayer Neverkusen".

Ballack and Leverkusen teammates Bernd Schneider (footballer), 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 Michael Ballack performance over the season led to Michael Ballack being voted into the users' Team of 2002 as well being named German Footballer of the Year.

Bayern Munich

In spite of Real Madrid C.F.'s interest, Ballack decided to sign with FC Bayern Munich in a €12.9 million deal in 2002 after Michael Ballack impressive performances in the World Cup. Bayern won the Bundesliga in Michael Ballack first season with 75 points, they also won the 2002–03 DFB-Pokal. In Michael Ballack second season however, Bayern lost their Bundesliga crown to SV Werder Bremen along with the cup.

In Michael Ballack third season with the Bavarians, Ballack enjoyed success in the 2004–05 Fußball-Bundesliga season as Bayern Munich completed another double. New coach Felix Magath stated Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack domestic league.

Chelsea FC

Ballack agreed to join Chelsea F.C. on a Bosman ruling on 15 May 2006. During Michael Ballack last season as a Bayern player there were rumours of interest from Manchester United F.C., Real Madrid C.F., F.C. Internazionale Milano and A.C. Milan, but Ballack instead chose to go to Stamford Bridge (stadium). Shortly after arriving at Chelsea, Ballack stated that Michael Ballack hoped to end Michael Ballack career at Chelsea.

Ballack's debut for Chelsea came on 31 July 2006, during a practice match at University of California, Los Angeles's intramural football pitch. Chelsea presented Michael Ballack to the media the following day where the club also gave Michael Ballack Michael Ballack favoured number 13 shirt, worn throughout Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack was underappreciated. On 27 August 2006, Ballack earned Michael Ballack Premier League debut for Chelsea against Blackburn Rovers F.C., and made Michael Ballack UEFA Champions League debut for Chelsea against SV Werder Bremen on 12 September 2006.

Ballack scored Michael Ballack first goal for Chelsea in the later match against SV Werder Bremen. Michael Ballack received Michael Ballack first straight red card of Michael Ballack career in Chelsea's 1–0 win over Liverpool F.C. on 17 September 2006, after being judged to have stamped on Mohamed Sissoko's leg. Ballack scored Michael Ballack first goal in the English League on 21 October 2006 against Portsmouth F.C. at home with a header. Michael Ballack 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. Michael Ballack scored eight goals in all competitions for the club in the 2006–07 season, including a free-kick against Everton F.C. 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 Michael Ballack first season at Chelsea, Ballack was criticised for Michael Ballack lethargic performances – for playing as though Michael Ballack had "a huge cigar in Michael Ballack 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 2007 against Manchester United, which Chelsea won 1–0 through Didier Drogba's extra time goal. This was Ballack's second trophy this season, Michael Ballack first being the Football League Cup, the final of which Michael Ballack started.

Despite persistent rumours in the summer 2007 transfer window, Ballack denied that Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack injury would prevent Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack feared that Michael Ballack football career might be in danger of ending as Michael Ballack was getting older. Michael Ballack made Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack league return in a thrilling game against Aston Villa F.C. which ended 4–4. Michael Ballack came on for Frank Lampard in the 26th minute after the latter had picked up a thigh injury. In first-half stoppage time, Michael Ballack 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 Michael Ballack 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 F.C. on 29 December 2007. Ballack then played Michael Ballack 50th game in a Chelsea shirt in a 2–1 win against Fulham F.C. in which Michael Ballack scored the winning goal for Chelsea. Michael Ballack also scored the only goal that won the match for Chelsea F.C. against Reading to extend the blues' winning streak to a record of nine. And, on 5 March 2007, Michael Ballack scored again, this time against Olympiacos F.C. in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in a 3–0 win. Michael Ballack scored the winning goal in the 2–0 win in the 2nd leg of the Quarter-Finals against Fenerbahçe S.K. (football team), a victory that secured Chelsea a place in the Semi-Finals.

Ballack continued to score vital goals and, on 26 April 2008, Michael Ballack scored a header and a penalty to give Chelsea a 2–1 win over Manchester United F.C.. Michael Ballack was named Man of The Match for Michael Ballack performance. It brought the two teams level in the race for the Premier League title only two matchdays before the end of the 2007-08 in English Football.

The season ended on a low note for Ballack as Chelsea F.C. finished runners up in the League Cup, Premier League and UEFA Champions League. This completed another treble horror for Ballack and Michael Ballack club. On 29 June 2008, Germany national football team, captained by Ballack, lost to Spain national football team 1–0 in the final of the UEFA Euro 2008 championship. This became the second season in Ballack's career that Michael Ballack was runner-up for four major trophies.

The 2008–09 season started well for Ballack, Michael Ballack 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 F.C.. Ballack's return from injury has been a lift for Chelsea as Michael Ballack set up Deco to score a scissor kick in a 2–0 win against Bolton Wanderers F.C.. Ballack's first goal of the '09 season came against Southend United F.C. 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. Michael Ballack 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 A.F.C., Ballack scored Michael Ballack first goal of the 2009–10 Premier League campaign in their 3–1 win. Ballack also scored against Burnley F.C. in a 3–0 win. Ballack made Michael Ballack first Champions league appearance for the season against Portuguese side F.C. Porto. On 20 September 2009, Michael Ballack scored Michael Ballack third league goal, against Tottenham Hotspur. On 17 January 2010, Michael Ballack scored Michael Ballack 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.
Michael Ballack 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. Michael Ballack also started as Chelsea were victorious in the 2010 FA Cup Final, however Michael Ballack would come off injured shortly before half time after a tackle by Kevin Prince Boateng. The injury later meant that Ballack was not able to participate in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

On 9 June 2010, it was announced that Ballack, along with team-mates Joe Cole and Juliano Belletti, would leave Chelsea on a free transfer after Michael Ballack contract was not renewed.

Bayer Leverkusen

On 25 June 2010, Michael Ballack signed a two year contract with Bayer 04 Leverkusen. On 19 August 2010, Michael Ballack 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 Fußball-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 Michael Ballack second Europa League goal against FC Metalist Kharkiv, Leverkusen won 2–0, with 6–0 on aggregate moving on to the last 16. Ballack played the full 90 minutes against Schalke 04 assisting Eren Derdiyok to score, Leverkusen went on to win 2–0.

International career

On 26 March 1996, Ballack debuted for the national U21 team against Denmark national football team, shortly after signing for Chemnitz. In all, Michael Ballack played 19 matches for this side, scoring four goals. Then, following Michael Ballack move to Kaiserslautern, national coach Berti Vogts called Michael Ballack up to the senior team.

Ballack's first appearance, however, did not come until 28 April 1999, when Michael Ballack came on as a substitute for Dietmar Hamann in a match against Scotland national football team.

Ballack only played 63 minutes at UEFA Euro 2000. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Michael Ballack scored in matches against the United States men's national soccer team and South Korea national football team during the knockout rounds as Germany reached the final. However, Michael Ballack was booked for a tactical foul during the semi-final match against South Korea and was suspended for 2002 FIFA World Cup Final, which Germany went on to lose 2–0 to Brazil national football team. Michael Ballack was included in the FIFA World Cup awards All-Star Team.

Following UEFA Euro 2004, Jürgen Klinsmann replaced Rudi Völler at the helm of the national team and Ballack took over from Oliver Kahn as captain.

In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Michael Ballack was unable to start in Germany's first game against Costa Rica national football team 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 national football team. Michael Ballack was named Man of the Match in the games against Ecuador national football team and Argentina national football team, and was included in FIFA's FIFA World Cup awards All-Star Team for a second consecutive time. After the tournmanent, Klinsmann stood down as national team head coach and was succeeded by assistant Joachim Löw.

On 6 February 2008, Ballack played Michael Ballack first match since returning from injury in a 3–0 friendly win over Austria national football team.

Ballack started and captained Germany national football team's first game of the UEFA Euro 2008 championship against Poland national football team. Michael Ballack 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, Michael Ballack 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 national football team. Nevertheless, Michael Ballack was named in the Team of the Tournament.

Since June 2005, Germany has never lost a game when Ballack has scored. Michael Ballack scored 4 goals in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA). However, Michael Ballack missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup following a foul by Kevin-Prince Boateng in the 2010 FA Cup Final that caused an ankle injury. Boateng is a former Germany national under-21 football team player and half-brother of current German international Jérôme Boateng. Kevin-Prince Boateng went on to play for Ghana national football team against the German team in the World Cup group stages. Ballack did travel to South Africa provide moral support for the national team but Michael Ballack departed after Philipp Lahm, who was appointed team skipper due to Ballack's injury, commented after quarter-finals that Michael Ballack would not relinquish the captaincy back to Ballack. Team manager Oliver Bierhoff criticized Lahm's comments and clarified the situation saying "Philipp Lahm is the World Cup captain and Michael Ballack is still the captain". Germany had played strongly in the tournament despite Ballack's absence, inculding a 4–1 win over England and a 4–0 win over Argentina enroute to finishing third, thanks to emerging midfield talents such as Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil.

It has been reported that Germany coach Joachim Löw was waiting for Ballack to retire from international football after the 2010 World Cup, however Ballack refused to give up despite a rash on injuries suffered in 2010–11. On 16 June 2011, it was announced that Ballack will no longer be a part of the national team. The DFB offered Michael Ballack two exhibition game to reach 100 matches for Germany, which Michael Ballack refused, accusing Löw of disrespecting Michael Ballack ever since Michael Ballack injury dating back to March 2010 and calling the invitation to compete in another two games for Germany a "farce".

Personal life

On 14 July 2008, Ballack married Michael Ballack longtime girlfriend Simone Lambe. The couple have three children together – Louis (born 2001), Emilio (born 2002) and Jordi (born 2005).


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