1976-09-26 to Present
Germany - UKMichael Ballack is a retired German footballer. He is among the top goal scorers in the history of the German national team. Ballack wore the number 13 shirt for every team he has played for, save for 1. FC Kaiserslautern. He was selected by Pelé as one of FIFA's 100 Greatest Living Players, and as the UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year in 2002. He won the German Footballer of the Year award three times – in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Ballack was known for his passing range, powerful shot, physical strength and commanding presence in midfield.
In 1995, Ballack earned his first professional contract, thanks to his performances in the role of central midfielder. He was dubbed the "Little Kaiser", in reference to Franz Beckenbauer, who was nicknamed "Der Kaiser".
Ballack's debut for Chelsea came on 31 July 2006, during a practice match at UCLA's intramural football pitch. Chelsea presented him to the media the following day where the club also gave him his favoured number 13 shirt, worn throughout his career.
On 29 April 2007, Chelsea released a statement on their official website, informing fans that Ballack had undergone ankle surgery in Munich. As a result, Ballack did not play in the FA Cup final against Manchester United, which Chelsea won 1–0 through Didier Drogba's extra time goal.
He also started as Chelsea were victorious against Portsmouth in the 2010 FA Cup final, however he would come off injured shortly before half-time after a tackle by Kevin-Prince Boateng. As a result of the injury, Ballack was not able to participate in the 2010 World Cup.
On 9 June 2010, it was announced that Ballack, along with teammates Joe Cole and Juliano Belletti, would leave Chelsea on a free transfer after his contract was not renewed. It was reported that while manager Carlo Ancelotti wanted to retain Ballack, club owner Roman Abramovich was only willing to offer a one-year deal due to Ballack's age.
On 16 June 2011, it was announced that Ballack would no longer be a part of the national team. The German Football Association (DFB) offered him two friendlies to reach 100 matches for Germany, which he refused, accusing Löw of disrespecting him ever since his injury dating back to March 2010 and calling the invitation to compete in another two games for Germany a "farce".
On 5 June 2013, Ballack played a farewell match at Leipzig's Red Bull Arena. The match was won by a World XI 4–3 against the "Friends of Ballack", with Ballack scoring his second hat-trick in his career.