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Ballack Making Things Worse With Germany?

Only yesterday on this blog I questioned whether Michael Ballack could lose his Germany captain’s status as a result of things said in the press, and now this looks increasingly likely given recent events.

It’s hard to know how to feel about this because it’s a little out of character for Ballack. The German midfielder has become a favourite of mine once I’d got over his poor first season at Chelsea. I have a soft spot for players who just want to win, and actually put in the effort themselves to achieve that. Add to that, he usually keeps himself to himself and doesn’t indulge in the undue publicity some players revel in, and I’ve always thought he’s seemed fairly sound during his time at Stamford Bridge.

So, his little outburst against Joachim Loew has taken me a bit by surprise. Part of me wants to commend Ballack for supporting his team-mates, that is, after all the captain’s job. Part of me also wants to believe there is more to this than meets the eye, because Ballack is not a stupid man, he thinks about his actions and isn’t known for being rash or impulsive. This is a man who already has his career mapped out right up until his planned retirement. This is also a man who, in the face of Didier Drogba’s embarrassing display of handbags over a free-kick last season, did nothing that belied anything of the sheer contempt he must have felt for the Chelsea striker.

And yet, for a man with so much apparent self-control, he appears to have lost it as far as the Germany boss is concerned. Because, with Loew responding to Ballack’s statements in the press concerning Torsten Frings, by summoning the Chelsea midfielder for talks, Ballack is reported to have suggested the national coach ask permission from Chelsea first. Ballack stated “The German Football Association will have to arrange it with my employers Chelsea.  I am open to this one-to-one discussion at any time. I am glad that the coach wants to talk to me and I am looking forward to this discussion.” Doesn’t sound like it’ll be tea and biscuits though.

Torsten Frings, who’ll obviously back the Germany captain’s stance, also feels Ballack wouldn’t have taken the approach he has unless his hand had been forced. Frings says “Michael has been around long enough to notice when something is not right. When he feels that something is not going right, then it is his right to speak up.  Players who have already proved themselves do not get worked up over nothing. Ballack has every right to speak out as captain – he only wants what is best for the team.”

And yet, as much as I want to agree with any of the above arguments, the bottom line is, he shouldn’t have done it. By all means take Loew to task if he’s out of order, by all means stand by your team-mates and fight their corner if necessary – just don’t turn it into a public bitching session. For a start, it’s not professional and it won’t actually help Frings in the long run. And also, it’ll tarnish Ballack’s reputation – and by association, his club’s – at a time when, for Chelsea, Bridges with the watching world have barely even got the scaffolding up!

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