Friday, 2013-06-21
Michael Ballack says farewell

On the 5th of June, Michael Ballack entered a football stadium for the last time as an active player. 44,000 spectators were present at Leipizig's World-Cup-Arena to grant the 98-times national player a dignified departure, which succeeded…

One half, Ballack played for his team "Ballack and friends". In the second 45 minutes, he joined the "World team". Both sides were supervised by Ballack's former managers Rudi Völler and José Mourinho. Altogether, the 'Capitano' scored three goals during his final performance. In the end, his friend-team lost 3-4 (2-1).

Among the players that played a part in the farewell game were many former companions such as Michael Essien, André Schürrle, Per Mertesacker, Didier Drogba, Andrej Schewtschenko, Ulf Kirsten and Lothar Matthäus.

Things were getting emotional when referee Bernd Heynemann blew the final whistle: Amidst the cheers of the crowd and Frank Sinatra's "My Way", Ballack started for a final lap of honour. During his speech of thanks, the 36-year-old was shortly carried away by his feelings: "I actually intended not to cry but it is inevitable," he said with mixed feelings. "It was a great career for me, even if there were difficult times."