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Michael_Ballack

Michael Ballack

Michael Ballack (born September 26, 1976 in Görlitz, Saxony) is a German footballer. A midfielder, he is the current captain of the German national team, and plays club football for Chelsea in the English Premier League. In all the teams he has played in, he has always possessed the number 13 shirt.

Club career

Chemnitz

His 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 "The Kaiser." His professional debut came on August 4, 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 March 26, 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 go up, but in the summer of 1997 coach Otto Rehhagel of just-promoted 1. FC Kaiserslautern signed Ballack at their return to top flight football.

Kaiserslautern

It was during the seventh game of the 1997–98 season, away to Karlsruher SC, that Rehhagel decided to throw Ballack into the Bundesliga for the first time, if only for the final five minutes of the encounter. On March 28, 1998, Ballack made his first-team debut against Bayer Leverkusen.

Ballack made sixteen 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 July 1, 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 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 9 in Europe over the course of his three seasons at the BayArena.

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 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 'Treble Horror'.

Ballack and Leverkusen teammates Bernd Schneider, Carsten Ramelow, and Oliver Neuville were even beaten finalists with Germany in the 2002 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.

Bayern Munich

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.

Chelsea

Ballack agreed to join Chelsea on a free transfer on May 15, 2006. During his last season as a Bayern player there were rumours of interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid 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 Stamford Bridge.

Ballack's debut for Chelsea came on Monday July 31, 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. On August 27, 2006, Ballack earned his English League debut for Chelsea against Blackburn Rovers, and his UEFA Champions League debut for Chelsea against Werder Bremen.

Ballack scored his first goal for Chelsea on September 21, 2006 in the latter match against Werder Bremen. He received his first straight red card of his career in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Liverpool on September 17, 2006, after being judged to have stamped on Mohamed Sissoko's leg. Ballack scored his first goal in the English League on October 21, 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 April 15, 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 FC Porto which sent Chelsea through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

On April 28, 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 Carling Cup.

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.

He 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 Carling Cup win over Liverpool on December 19. Ballack tallied an assist late in the game to striker Andriy Shevchenko. On December 26, 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 scores 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, vice captain Frank Lampard in a 2–1 win over Newcastle on December 29, 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 9. And, on March 5, he scored again, this time against Olympiacos CFP in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in a 3-0 win.

With Chelsea's progress to the 2007–2008 Champions League Quarter-Finals, Michael Ballack is the only player to have reached the Champions League Quarter-Finals with four different clubs. He scored the winning goal in the 2-0 win in the 2nd leg of the Quarter-Finals against Fenerbahçe S.K., a victory that secured Chelsea a place in the Semi-Finals.

Ballack continued to score vital goals and on April 26, 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 Carling Cup, Premier League and UEFA Champions League. This completed a treble horror for Chelsea and Ballack. On 29 June 2008 Germany, captained by Ballack, lost to Spain 1-0 in the final of Euro 2008. This became the second season in Ballack's career that he was runner-up for four major trophies.

International career

On March 26 1996, Ballack debuted for the national U21 team's encounter with 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's first appearance, however, did not come until April 28 1999, when he came on as a substitute for Dietmar Hamann in a match against Scotland.

Ballack only played 63 minutes at Euro 2000. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup he scored in matches against USA and South Korea during the knock-out rounds as Germany reached the final. However he was booked for a tactical foul during the semifinal match against South Korea and was suspended for the final; Germany went on to lose 2-0 to Brazil.

Following Euro 2004, Jürgen Klinsmann replaced Rudi Völler at the helm of the national team and made Ballack the side's captain.

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 were eliminated in the semi-finals, but they managed to clinch 3rd place. 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.

On February 6 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 tournament against Poland. He scored 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 header against Portugal to make the score 3-1 in their 3-2 win after feed by Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick in 60th minute, helping Germany to advance to the semi-finals. After Germany beat Turkey 3-2, he captained them in the final, losing 1-0 to Spain. He was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

Statistics

Club

As of: 28 September 2008

|- |1995-96||rowspan="2"|Chemnitz||2. Bundesliga||15||0||||||colspan="2"|-||15||0 |- |1996-97||Regionalliga||34||10||||||colspan="2"|-||34||10 |- |1997-98||rowspan="2"|Kaiserslautern||rowspan="2"|Bundesliga||16||0||2||0||colspan="2"|-||18||0 |- |1998-99||30||4||2||0||5||0||37||4 |- |1999-00||rowspan="3"|Bayer Leverkusen||rowspan="3"|Bundesliga||23||3||0||0||2||2||25||5 |- |2000-01||27||7||2||0||5||1||34||8 |- |2001-02||29||17||4||1||15||7||48||25 |- |2002-03||rowspan="4"|Bayern Munich||rowspan="4"|Bundesliga||26||10||5||4||7||1||38||15 |- |2003-04||28||7||3||2||8||0||39||9 |- |2004-05||27||13||4||3||9||2||40||18 |- |2005-06||26||14||5||1||6||1||37||16 |- |2006-07||rowspan="3"|Chelsea||rowspan="3"|Premier League||26||5||9||1||10||2||45||8 |- |2007-08||18||7||0||0||7||2||25||9 |- |2008-09||4||0||||||1||0||5||0281||85||27||11||57||14||365||11048||12||9||1||18||4||75||17329||97||36||12||75||18||440||127 |}

National team

All-time national team performance
National team Year Friendlies International
competition
Total
App Goals App Goals App  Goals
Germany 2008 4 1 7 3 11 4
2007 1 0 1 0 2 0
2006 7 3 7 3 14 6
2005 7 3 4 4 11 7
2004 10 7 3 1 13 8
2003 1 0 4 2 5 2
2002 3 1 8 5 11 6
2001 2 0 7 6 9 6
2000 5 0 4 0 9 0
1999 1 0 2 0 3 0
Total 41 15 47 24 88 39

International goals

Scores and results table. Germany's goal tally first:

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. March 28, 2001 Olympic Stadium, Athens, Greece 2-1 4-2 FIFA World Cup 2002 qualifying
2. June 2, 2001 Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland 1-2 2-2 FIFA World Cup 2002 qualifying
3. June 6, 2001 Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania 2-0 2-0 FIFA World Cup 2002 qualifying
4. November 10, 2001 Olimpiysky National Sports Complex, Kyiv, Ukraine 1-1 1-1 FIFA World Cup 2002 qualifying (European Play-offs)
5. November 14, 2001 Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany 1-0 4-1 FIFA World Cup 2002 qualifying (European Play-offs)
6. November 14, 2001 Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany 4-0 4-1 FIFA World Cup 2002 qualifying (European Play-offs)
7. June 1, 2002 Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan 3-0 8-0 FIFA World Cup 2002
8. June 21, 2002 Munsu Cup Stadium, Ulsan, South Korea 1-0 1-0 FIFA World Cup 2002
9. June 25, 2002 Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul, South Korea 1-0 1-0 FIFA World Cup 2002
10. August 21, 2002 Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria 1-1 2-2 Friendly match
11. September 7, 2002 S. Darius and S. Girėnas Stadium, Kaunas, Lithuania 1-0 2-0 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
12. October 16, 2002 AWD Arena, Hannover, Germany 1-0 2-1 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
13. September 10, 2003 Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany 2-0 2-1 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
14. October 11, 2003 AOL Arena, Hamburg, Germany 1-0 3-0 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
15. March 31, 2004 RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany 3-0 3-0 Friendly match
16. May 27, 2004 Dreisamstadion, Freiburg, Germany 1-0 7-0 Friendly match
17. May 27, 2004 Dreisamstadion, Freiburg, Germany 2-0 7-0 Friendly match
18. May 27, 2004 Dreisamstadion, Freiburg, Germany 5-0 7-0 Friendly match
19. May 27, 2004 Dreisamstadion, Freiburg, Germany 6-0 7-0 Friendly match
20. June 23, 2004 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal 1-0 1-2 UEFA Euro 2004
21. December 16, 2004 International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan 2-0 3-0 Friendly match
22. December 19, 2004 Busan Asiad Stadium, Busan, South Korea 1-1 1-3 Friendly match
23. June 4, 2005 Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland 2-1 4-1 Friendly match
24. June 4, 2005 Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland 3-1 4-1 Friendly match
25. June 15, 2005 Waldstadion, Frankfurt, Germany 3-2 4-3 FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
26. June 18, 2005 RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany 1-0 3-0 FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
27. June 25, 2005 Frankenstadion, Nuremberg, Germany 2-2 2-3 FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
28. June 29, 2005 Zentralstadion, Leipzig, Germany 4-3 4-3 (a.e.t.) FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
29. August 17, 2005 Feijenoord Stadion, Rotterdam, Netherlands 2-1 2-2 Friendly match
30. March 22, 2006 Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany 4-0 4-1 Friendly match
31. June 2, 2006 Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany 1-0 3-0 Friendly match
32. September 6, 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino 4-0 13-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
33. October 7, 2006 Ostseestadion, Rostock, Germany 2-0 2-0 Friendly match
34. October 11, 2006 Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia 2-0 4-1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
35. November 15, 2006 GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus 1-0 1-1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
36. May 31, 2008 Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany 2-1 2-1 Friendly match
37. June 16, 2008 Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria 1-0 1-0 UEFA Euro 2008
38. June 19, 2008 St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland 3-1 3-2 UEFA Euro 2008
39. October 11, 2008 Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany 2-0 2-1 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying

Honours

Club

FC Kaiserslautern

Bayer 04 Leverkusen

FC Bayern Munich

Chelsea

International

Personal

References

External links

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