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Ballack Retains National Team Captaincy Without The Guarantee Of A Regular Place In Loew’s Squad

Ballack Is Captain Once Again But Must Fight For His Place In The Side.

Joachim Loew has announced that veteran midfielder Michael Ballack will remain the captain of the German national team and has thus ended all debate surrounding the issue. Despite this, Loew has not chosen Ballack for Germany’s two upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan, and has not promised him a place in the squad for Germany’s next round of qualifiers.

I have previously written that I think Michael Ballack should not be granted the captain’s armband because of the wonderful job Philipp Lahm did while wearing the armband during the World Cup. At first, readers may expect me to simply disagree with Loew’s decision to stick the armband back on Ballack as he once again becomes eligible for a national team call-up after fighting through the injury that ruled him out of the World Cup in the first place. Loew has been very clever with his words on the issue, and it’s in his words that comes the new topic for discussion. Loew spoke to the press on the issue and said;

“After a personal meeting and open, faithful discussions [with Ballack], I have decided that Michael will keep the armband. Philipp Lahm , who filled the role so brilliantly during the World Cup, will remain the deputy captain. At the moment,  Bastian Schweinsteiger and  Sami Khedira are first choice in defensive midfield. I frankly told him that he’s not ready yet and that the World Cup has created a new situation. But if Ballack comes back and finds his way into the team, he will be captain, too. If Ballack doesn’t play, Lahm is captain.”

Loew has decided that after the impressive performances of Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger as a midfield duo during the World Cup, they will keep their places in the team as they rightly should. Khedira will be looking to continue impress at Real Madrid this season, as well as with the national team against Belgium and Azerbaijan. Bastian Schweinsteiger has essentially guaranteed himself a place in the midfield with his stellar World Cup performances and excellent Bayern Munich form. With Christian Traesch, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Simon Rolfes being three of many other players who will be vying for those positions, Ballack will certainly need to put his work in to fight his way back into the squad.

Now, Loew has also said that Lahm will be captain if Ballack does not play. Lahm will surely take the field against Belgium on Friday and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, so nothing would have changed at all. If Ballack does not regain full fitness and form before the next round of qualifying matches in November, then Loew may not call Ballack up at all. At 34 years old, Ballack’s contributions to the German national team have been nothing short of fantastic, but it’s hard to see what more he could do for die Mannschaft than to allow some of Germany’s younger players to flourish in the side without him.

Loew has massaged Ballack’s ego by announcing that he is the captain of the national side, but has also been very clever in not choosing Ballack for his squad for these next to qualifiers which will allow Lahm to remain captain and create a consistent atmosphere in the German camp.

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  1. Cristina

    September 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Complex situation… I feel sorry for Ballack. I hope he can still be an important part of the team and play in the Euro 2012. He deserves to win a title with the team he gave so much to…

  2. Diriye

    September 2, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Speaking of impressing at Club Level, Mesut played his first half an hour for Real and he was impressive. He stood out from the bunch with his ball control and vision. He made Ronaldo look like a relic with the ease in which he ran the offense. It was like saying this is how you play football boys.

  3. fcbayernfan

    September 1, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I think that Ballack will retire after giving his best for Deutschland….He could still play at the Euro but as a substitute, when he goes in, he could get his armband..

    He won’t retire ’til after the Euro 2012, don’t think about that. And I think he shouldn’t he should at least play, like Klose did for this World Cup.

    • Dylan Thomas

      September 1, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      That’s fair, and I think that’s what will likely happen. Ballack’s legs are going and he’s having a few injury problems and it’s going to be a lot harder for him to get back to his best form especially as his age. He’s competing for a position in the national side with a lot of other quality players, so it won’t be easy for him.

    • Will G

      September 1, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      Well written article, and particularly well-placed words by Loew. I really like this coaching group. If one thinks of lesser lights like Fabio Cappello and Ray Domenech and embarassing verbal holes they dug themselves into with their captains and ex-captains … *shakes head* … glad the DFB have quality and class organizing the national team.

      Ballack – I’d hate to loose that type of class too early though. We need to carefully dismiss much of the shaded EPL journalism regarding Ballack in the past few years. He litteraly made Lampard look good for years at Chelsea, to the point the most soccer fans actually think that the L was at some point a top player in the world. Every time L took a set piece over B in 07-08-09 I cringed. If, if “IF” Ballack regains his form, I think by this Fall he could be back to being all-round better than Khedira…

      • Dylan Thomas

        September 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm

        If indeed! I’d like to see him regain his form and impress at club level because we all know the kind of player Ballack can be. But you’ve got to wonder if he’s just a bit passed it now, especially after that long injury lay-off.

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