Chelsea have fielded several dominant teams since the turn of the century and have grown into one of the most successful teams in the Premier League. The Blues have pulled off several successful signings over the years but none could arguably compare to the acquisition of the indomitable Michael Ballack.
One of the most versatile midfielders of the modern era, Michael Ballack was the perfect addition to Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea team. Ballack’s achievements in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich made him a household name in Germany and his style of play and leadership skills earned him the moniker ‘Little Kaiser.’
After four successful seasons with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, Michael Ballack snubbed the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid to join Chelsea on a free transfer. The talented midfielder was eased into a box-to-box role by Jose Mourinho and scored his first Chelsea goal a month into his first season.
Chelsea became a force to reckon with on the European front under Jose Mourinho and the UEFA Champions League presented Michael Ballack with the perfect stage to score the first of his many goals for the Blues. After Didier Drogba won the team a spot-kick, Michael Ballack nearly tore through the net with a thunderous top-corner penalty that would go on to become a legendary trademark.
Michael Ballack played a pivotal role in one of the best Chelsea teams in living memory. Alongside contemporary Blues legends like Frank Lampard, John Terry, and Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack scripted Chelsea’s incredible Premier League victory in the 2009-10 season. The German star struck a fruitful midfield partnership with Frank Lampard and his explosive exploits on the pitch served as the perfect foil for the Englishman’s effervescent style of play.
The 2000s saw Chelsea become a dominant force in the FA Cup as well. Ballack took a particular liking to the prestigious competition. The German international won three FA Cups during his time at Chelsea and produced a series of memorable moments in the competition.
Chelsea’s triumphant 2009-10 FA Cup campaign saw the Blues maintain an astonishing seven-year unbeaten streak in the competition at Stamford Bridge. Michael Ballack famously played an important role in keeping the record intact against Cardiff City in 2010 and scored Chelsea’s crucial second goal in what went on to become an emphatic 4-1 victory in front of a passionate home crowd.
The German midfielder was also named Man of the Match against Manchester United in a potentially title-deciding fixture in 2008. Starting in the center of the park, Ballack scored a header to break the deadlock on the night. However, Wayne Rooney equalized, as Manchester United drew level.
Ballack then capped off his finest hour as a Chelsea player with a late penalty, as Chelsea won the game 2-1 and drew level with Manchester United at the top of the table.
Michael Ballack’s incredible performances for the Blues have made him a living legend at the club. The German midfielder made Chelsea a winning machine and lost only ten out of a total of 105 Premier League games during his time at the club. In an era defined by some of the best midfielders in the history of the game, Chelsea’s Michael Ballack remains among the cream of the crop.