Ballack Broods Over Germany Dismissal
Michael Ballack, Germany's long-serving captain who was unceremoniously dumped last week by national trainer Joachim Loew, is angrily refusing to go away quietly.
"It was clearly and unambiguously agreed by both sides that I would be able to announce calmly my decision to retire (from international football) during the summer break," the 34-year-old midfielder said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Instead, it was the German Football Federation (DFB) who revealed last Thursday that the former Chelsea and Bayern Munich star was no longer part of the Germany squad after 98 appearances and 42 goals for his country.
Ballack, who had not played for Germany since March 2010 and who missed the World Cup due to injury, said he only found out about the DFB announcement an hour before the press release went out -- and by text message while on holiday.
He also disputed the version of events given by Wolfgang Niersbach, the general secretary of the DFB, who had said that Loew had told Ballack his career was over at a meeting on March 30.
Ballack, who now plays for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, said that he reached the decision himself in May to quit international football.
"I think it's a shame to have to again read comments that are untrue and to which I have to react," Ballack said.
"The opposite was the case ... (Loew) told me in this meeting that I was on the right path after my injury and that he fully believed that I would definitely be able to get back into the national side.
"He encouraged me and told me not to throw in the towel."
The DFB said it hoped that Ballack would take part in a friendly against Brazil in Stuttgart in southwest Germany on August 10 for what it called a "worthy farewell" and 99th appearance -- and as captain.
But Ballack is said to be so cross that he is refusing to play.
In terms of performance at least, Ballack's 15-month absence has not been felt, with the team having run England into the ground and blown away Diego Maradona's Argentina at the World Cup before finishing third.
And in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2012, hosted by Poland and Ukraine, Germany are sitting pretty at the top of their qualifying group with a 10-point lead, virtually assured of a berth at next year's tournament.