Euro 2012 Qualifying

Ballack assails Loew, refuses farewell game

WORLD SOCCER
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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack says he is so disappointed with being ousted from the national team that he will not accept a farewell match.

Germany coach Joachim Loew said Thursday there was no Germany future for the 34-year-old Ballack and that he was under the impression that the player understood his position.

Ballack used a statement from his lawyer to say that he was ''disappointed and surprised'' by Loew's statement.

Ballack said the offer to have a farewell appearance in a friendly against Brazil on Aug. 10 in Stuttgart is ''a farce.''

''To pretend that they always dealt with me and my role as captain openly and honestly is the height of hypocrisy,'' Ballack said in the statement.

The 34-year-old former Chelsea midfielder has 98 caps but has not played for Germany in more than a year and missed seven months with an ankle injury, including last year's World Cup in South Africa, where Germany finished third.

Ballack, who had 42 goals in a Germany career that began in April 1999, never won a major title with the national team. He was Germany's captain in 55 games.

Loew had nominally retained Ballack as captain, but left him out of the Germany squad recently despite the player enjoying a strong end to the season.

On Thursday, however, the federation said Ballack won't be part of the squad in future - though it made an offer for him to play one last game as captain in the friendly against Brazil.

Loew said recent months have brought many young players to the fore who have ''good prospects.''

''In our talks, I had the impression that Michael definitely understands our point of view,'' Loew said. ''So in the interest of everyone, an honest and clear decision is now appropriate.''

Ballack's last game for Germany was in March 2010, a 1-0 loss to Argentina in a friendly.

His club career included stints with Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayer Munich and Chelsea.

When his contract at Chelsea was not extended, Ballack returned to Leverkusen and struggled to make the starting lineup after coming back from an ankle injury. But he finished the season strongly.

The tackle that effectively ended his Germany career came in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth in 2010 and was committed by former Bundesliga player Kevin-Prince Boateng.

 



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