Michael Ballack Biography
Michael Ballack is a former German national team midfielder and one of the most revered names in the game to come from the country. Ballack was born on 26 September 1976 in Gorlitz, Germany.
He undoubtedly went down as one of the greatest ever players in German football as he was a relentless force. He was unstoppable in midfield and operated like a commander. His ball control, accuracy, and long rangers made him all the more lethal and effective in midfield.
Ballack's father was an engineer who played second-division football in Germany. Michael started playing football when his family moved to Chemnitz and started training at the Chemnitzer FC. He made his professional debut in August 1995 in 2. Bundesliga against VfB Leipzig.
He made 15 appearances in his debut season and scored 10 goals in the next season. The performance resulted in him being signed by 1.FC Kaiserslautern in 1997.
Ballack made his Bundesliga debut against Karlsruher SC when he was substituted in the final five minutes of the match in the 1997-98 season. He then made his first-team debut-start against Bayern Leverkusen in March 1998. He made 16 appearances for the team in the season as Kaiserslautern lifted the Bundesliga title defeating Bayern Munich and scripted history.
Ballack made his international debut for Germany against Scotland on 28 April 1999, when he substituted Dietmar Hamann. Germany lost the match by 0-1. He then represented Germany at the UEFA Euro in 2000.
Two years later in the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Ballack scored a goal as Germany defeated the USA by 1-0. In the semi-finals, Ballack's solitary goal helped Germany defeat South Korea by 1-0 and reach the finals. He was included in the World Cup All-Star Team for his impressive performance.
Rise to Glory
After helping 1.FC Kaiserslautern in lifting the Bundesliga title in his debut season, Ballack carried on his consistency in the next season, scoring four goals in 30 appearances as the club reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Ballack moved to Bayer Leverkusen in July 1999. He had three amazing years at the club where he was given an attacking role in the midfield and thus scored a total of 27 goals in his three seasons with the club. The failure to win a title with Leverkusen resulted in Ballack moving to Bayern Munich.
He stayed for four years with Munich and had a successful stint with them as in his first season only Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title. In his four seasons at the club where he was at his absolute best in the midfield, Ballack won three Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal.
He scored 44 goals in 107 appearances along with 29 assists in Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. Ballack then moved to Chelsea on a free transfer in May 2006.
Ballack has been associated mainly with five clubs in his career. He started his journey with Chemnitzer FC where he scored 10 goals in 51 appearances. The club where he made his Bundesliga debut, 1.FC Kaiserslautern, helped him improve as a player to play at the top-level.
In a pretty successful at the Bayer Leverkusen, he impressed everyone with 42 goals and 27 assists in 155 appearances. Bayern Munich helped in unleashing his potential in the midfield as it was his most successful period in the career going by his numbers. He scored 62 goals along with 40 assists in 157 appearances for the club.
At Chelsea, Ballack found the net on 25 occasions in 167 appearances along with 24 assists.
Michael's Record in Numbers
Ballack has made 98 appearances for Germany in international football and scored 42 goals along with 19 assists.
He has been included in the World Cup All Star team on two occasions. He was named the German Footballer of the Year thrice in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
In October 2012, Ballack announced his retirement from football. He played a farewell match in June 2013 at Leipzig Red Bull Arena where World XI Defeated Friends of Ballack by 4-3.