At the beginning of the 21st century, Michael Ballack was called the best scoring midfielder in the world! An eternal runner-up, he has won several national titles, but he always got beaten in big international finals.
Michael Ballack was born on September 26th, 1976 in Görlitz, Germany. He is the son of Karin and Stephan Ballack. He began his career playing for former Eastern Germany club BSG Motor Karl–Marx Stadt.
His coach was really impressed by Ballack's technical skills. In 1988, Ballack moved to big rival FC Karl-Marx Stadt which two years later was renamed Chemnitzer FC.
Due to good performances, Ballack got offered his first professional contract in 1995. He stayed for two years before German Bundesliga team, Kaiserslautern, signed him in 1997.
Ballack had to wait more than seven games before he was substituted for the first time in a game against Karlsruhe. All in all he played 16 games in this season and helped Kaiserslautern, surprisingly, to win the national championship.
The following season, Ballack became part of the starting 11 and several other teams wanted to sign him.
On July 16th, 1999 Ballack was transferred to Bayer Leverkusen. The time in Leverkusen was his final breakthrough, but he would experience a huge hiccup at the end of his first season:
It happened in the last game of the year 2000 when Leverkusen just needed a tie against Unterhaching to become national champion. Ballack scored an own goal and Leverkusen failed to win the championship.
The description eternal runner-up started after the season 2001/2002 when Ballack placed second in the Bundesliga, lost the final of the German Cup, lost final of the Champions League, and missed the final of the World Cup because of a yellow card.
Ballack decided to leave Leverkusen and moved to Bayern Munich after that year.
Even Real Madrid wanted to sign Ballack, but he wanted to stay in Germany. He scored 10 goals and helped Bayern Munich win the German cup and the national championship.
He struggled with his form in the following season. When Munich signed their new coach, Felix Magath for the 2004/2005 season, Ballack became better and better.
Ballack decided to leave Munich in the summer of 2006 due to several problems with people there and moved to Chelsea FC.
Ballack made his debut on July 31st in a friendly game in the United States. He won several titles with Chelsea including the English national championship, the English Cup, and the League Cup.
The season 2009/2010 would be the last one for Ballack in England. After a brutal foul by Kevin Boateng in the English Cup, Ballack got injured and his contracted was not extended.
He moved back to Bayer Leverkusen and played two more years at a good level before he ended his career in 2012.
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