At 35 years old, former Germany captain Michael Ballack is nearing the end of a long and very impressive career as a footballer. Yet, instead of admitting that age is catching up to him, as it does everyone, Ballack has decided that his diminishing place as a footballer is due to a series of conspiracies that may or may not involve aliens (OK, he didn't say that...yet).
First in the Ballack Files is the matter of how he lost the national team captaincy. When an injury left him unable to play in the 2010 World Cup, the armband was given to defender Philipp Lahm on a temporary basis. But, the day after Ballack left South Africa following a visit with the team, Lahm announced his intention to keep the captaincy for himself. And since Ballack was never called back to the German team, Lahm has done just that, which seems mighty convenient to Michael.
From The Mirror:
"He is an intelligent lad and you don't just give an interview like that in such a situation," said Ballack.
"He must have agreed it with the coach [Jogi Low] to lean so far out of the window. That is what my feeling tells me. I was the captain and I know how people behave within a group. Philipp then became captain and it was a strange situation for me."
That brings the conspirators against Ballack count to two: Lahm and Low. According to Ballack, they are not the only two.
The injury before the World Cup didn't just bring an end to his international career, it was also the end to his four years with Chelsea, who decided not to offer him a new contract that summer. So, Michael signed a two-year deal with former club Bayer Leverkusen in the hopes that he could lead a revolution. He hasn't. Instead, he has too often found himself sitting on the bench. The reason?
"I think there were internal communication problems regarding my role. I had the feeling that the coach was planning with other, younger players."
Yet again, coaches conspiring with younger players to bring about the unjust marginalization of Michael Ballack. Notice the theme here? If not, Michael has a drawn a large chart on his bedroom wall that illustrates how all of these nefarious plots all lead back to one person: Tom Cruise.
With yet more bitterness fostered in his homeland, Ballack is now considering a move to MLS, mostly so he can keep a closer eye on Tom.