One of the finest midfield players to represent the German national team, Ballack was a regular goal scorer at international level. A star-studded career in Germany and England, we take a look at some of the best quotes about Michael Ballack.
With four Bundesliga championship triumphs and one Premier League with Chelsea, he also captured six top domestic Cup competitions, as well as twice coming runner-up in the Champions League.
He was a nearly man with the German national team with twice coming second in the World Cup and European Championship, and twice reaching the semi-final in major events, having participated in 98 internationals and netted in 42 times, one of the highest tallies for the team.
Ballack started with lowly Chemnitzer FC before competing with the more bigger teams FC Kaiserslautern and Bayer Leverkusen, and then moving onto the major clubs of Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
In four seasons each with both teams, he was a member whilst four league, and seven cup competitions were secured, with his best spell at Bayern seeing him record 44 goals in 107 league matches.
After returning to Leverkusen and then retiring, he was honoured with a farewell match in 2013, where a host of world stars turned up, and he managed the second hat-trick of his playing career.
Ballack was described as being strong, aggressive, and versatile, as well as being a good header of the ball and with excellent passing ability.
“He has got everything. I am impressed by his intelligence on the pitch. I have been watching him for a long time. I like him as a human being.”
Jose Mourinho (Chelsea manager)
“Clearly he is an outstanding and big player…..”
Peter Kenyon (Chelsea chief executive)
“He’s made huge progress recently and his performance levels are much higher than they were just before the World Cup in 2006…..He has this incredible desire to impose himself in games now. He’s learnt that at Chelsea…..It’ll benefit Germany if he can continue his development there.”
Joachim Low (Germany manager)
“He’s a top player, an intelligent player who can score and make assists…..”
Avram Grant (Chelsea manager)
“For me Ballack is one of the best players in the world. He’s very intelligent, tactically very strong and he scores a lot of goals. For me in Europe there’s only Frank Lampard who plays at that level. The two would form a dream pair…..They’re the two best players in the world in their category.”
“…..the decision only makes sense if he goes to Real Madrid. I know United are also in the hunt, but Michael will only be improving himself by going to Madrid.”
“…..for me Michael Ballack showed his stature…..”
Alan Hansen (BBC Sport)
“If there is someone with the qualities for Real Madrid, then that is Michael Ballack…..I won’t give up my place that easily, but we would welcome him with open arms…..He plays in midfield like I do, but I have a lot of respect for him both as a player and as a person.”
Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid player)
“…..the lone shining light in a leaden era.”
Udo Muras (journalist)
“We have a team of champions and to improve a team of champions we need champions…..A champion is coming here to help follow our target for next year.”
“Michael has been Germany’s player of the year three times…..”
Michael Becker (player’s agent)
“Michael has been a key member of our team for three years so we are naturally very happy…..”
“He is improving physically and is in good shape…..That’s what I expected. He makes a good impression, he exudes authority and calm on the pitch.”