Michael Ballack – Germany
Full Name: Michael Ballack
Date of Birth: 26th September, 1976
Current Club: Chelsea (England)
2009/2010 Apps/Goals: 32-4
International Appearances: 98
International Goals: 42
International Accolades: 2008 UEFA European Championship; Runner-up. 2006 FIFA World Cup; Third-Place.
Recently a Premier League and FA Cup winner with Chelsea, Germany’s Michael Ballack will be aiming to guide Germany to their first World Cup final under his captaincy, whilst making it a double of major internationals finals after leading his country to the 2008 UEFA European Championships, albeit as a runner-up.
Ballack has captained Germany for six years now, since 2004 when Jurgen Klinsman blessed him with the captains armband. The former Bayern Munich player-maker now turned Chelsea combative midfielder, has been inspirational as captain and has already guided Germany to a World Cup semi-final on home soil back in 2006, and of course their infamous 1-0 loss to Spain at the 2008 UEFA European Championships. It’s an almost impeccable record as captain, one Ballack will be eager to better seeing as South Africa could be his last World Cup finals aged 33.
Michael Ballack’s qualities do vary, and that’s because of two impressive stints at two giant European clubs; Bayern Munich (2002-2006) and Chelsea (2006-Present). With Bayern Munich, a club where he made a formidable name for himself, Ballack was instrumental as a play-maker, often the architect, as well as the finisher, in Bayern’s goals. He has a thunderbolt of a shot, while his upper body strength enables him to stride forward with real urgency and presence.
For Chelsea, however, he has taken up a more reserved role, some would say as a holding midfielder. He hasn’t quite reached the heights of his Bayern Munich days but that’s because Ballack is surrounded by world-class players and is no longer given the burden and the pressure of needing to single-handily drive the team to success. While some would say Ballack is no long deemed a great in the modern game, largely because he doesn’t go looking for goals as much as he did at Bayern Munich in a more forward role, we would counter that with Ballack’s fantastic all-round game, with his more conservative stint at Chelsea complimenting his aggressive style in Germany meaning the German national team get a more complete Michael Ballack, one which is very effective even at 33 years-old.