Germany manager Joachim Loew has confirmed Michael Ballack’s international career is over, with a potential farewell appearance in August.The 34-year-old Bayer Leverkusen midfielder – a former captain of his country – was informed he did not feature in Loew’s plans after talks between the two in March.
Loew has overseen the emergence of a new generation of young stars for Germany – a direction galvanised by the nation’s third-placed finish at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Ballack missed the tournament in South Africa after breaking a bone in his foot in the 2010 FA Cup final while with English Premier League outfit Chelsea, and the veteran has been unable to force his way back into the Loew’s thinking since.
“The past months have shown that many young players are brought into focus and have good prospects,” Loew told Bayer Leverkusen’s website.
“With them developing the national team since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the run (has been) completely positive.”
“After I had discussed this issue with Michael Ballack at our last meeting in late March 2011, together in the open and then we talked on the phone several times, (we) have now taken a clear position before the start of the season.”
“In our conversations, I had the impression that Michael definitely understands our vision. Therefore in everyone’s interest (there) is now an honest and clear decision attached.”
Ballack has 98 international caps to his name, and German Football Association (DFB) general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach revealed the player had been offered a farewell cap in his nation’s friendly with Brazil in Stuttgart in August.
Loew went on to praise the efforts of Ballack for his country: “Michael Ballack (for) a decade has (been) a very important player in the leadership of the team and has (had) an enormous stake in the tremendous success of the team since the 2002 World Cup.”
“He has shaped an era, and has always put in a captain’s performance for the team, which I experienced at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 from close range. His play and combative class speak for itself, as (does) his eye for goal and his nerves of steel, especially in big games.”