Who is Chelsea legend Michael Ballack?
Michael Ballack, who was born on 26 September 1976 in Görlitz, is a German former professional football player. Ballack is among the top goal scorers in the history of the national team.
Michael wore the No.13 shirt for every club he has played for, except from Kaiserslautern. Brazilian legend Pele selected him as one of FIFA’s 100 Greatest Living Players and as the UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year in 2002.
Ballack won the German Footballer of the Year award three times, in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Michael began his career as a youth at Chemnitzer, his local club, and played his professional debut game in 1995.
In March 1996, Michael played his debut game for Germany’s U21 team. Although the team were relegated in his first campaign, his displays in the Regionalliga the following campaign led to a transfer to Kaiserslautern in 1997.
Ballack won the Bundesliga in his first campaign at Kaiserslautern, his first important honour. Michael became a first-team regular in the 1998–99 campaign and earned his first senior national cap for the national team.
Ballack moved to Bayer Leverkusen for €4.1m in 1999, according to Transfermarkt. The 2001–02 campaign saw Michael win a slew of runners-up medals: Bayer Leverkusen finished second in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, Champions League, and Germany lost to Brazil in the 2002 Mundial Final.
In May 2006, Michael joined Chelsea. The London club took the No.13 shirt from their defender Gallas and gave it to Ballack. In August 2006, Michael played his debut game in the Premier League in a game over Blackburn Rovers.
The German midfielder scored his first goal in September on his Champions League debut over Werder Bremen. Michael’s first Premier League goal came in a match over Portsmouth in October 2006.
The German midfielder reached his 50th game with the London club in a 2-1 win against Fulham, in which Ballack scored the winning goal for Chelsea. Michael maintained his style and went on to score further vital goals. The German midfielder announced his retirement on 2 October 2012.
Michael Ballack’s international career
Internationally, Michael has played in the UEFA European Football Championship in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2006.
Jürgen Klinsmann appointed Ballack captain of Germany in 2004. Michael scored consecutive match-winning goals in the quarter-final and semi-final to help his country to the 2002 Mundial final and led Germany to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup and the Euro 2008 final.