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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Ballack upset at Euro exclusion
Michael Ballack
Ballack has not played since April
Germany midfielder Michael Ballack says he is frustrated to be left out of Chelsea's Champions League squad for the group stages.

The 30-year-old is recovering from ankle surgery but his omission means he cannot play in Europe before the knockout stages begin in February.

"I am disappointed," Ballack told the German Football Federation's website.

"But I have to accept it and focus on getting healthy again. Then I can make up my mind about other things."

Ballack was unable to name a date for his comeback, explaining: "It has got better - but it is not like I could play again or train with the team. I can't give a prognosis."


Germany coach Joachim Low criticised Chelsea's decision to exclude Ballack from their squad for European games.

Low said: "Chelsea's doctors estimate he will not be able to play for two to three more months.

"But Michael is much more optimistic and expects to play sooner. For us, Chelsea's decision isn't justifiable."

Ballack has not played since undergoing ankle surgery in May and the Chelsea medical department maintain the Germany captain would not be back in time to play any part in the group qualifiers.

Low added that Ballack was at a loss to explain the club's decision.

"I discussed it with Michael and he could not fully explain Chelsea's decision to me," said Low.

The fact that Chelsea are unable to find a place in their 25-man squad for Ballack when he may be fit for some of their Group B games is likely to fuel speculation about his future.

I think it was a mistake to move to Chelsea

Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer

However, Low had previously said he was hopeful Ballack would be fit to play in his country's Euro 2008 qualifying match against the Republic of Ireland on 13 October.

And if that is the case, Ballack would be fit for all of Chelsea's Champions League matches except September's home tie against Rosenborg and their trip to Valencia on 3 October.

But Chelsea believe that is an unlikely scenario and have decided against the gamble.

A statement from the club read: "We hope Michael's recovery is as quick as possible.

"We hope Michael returns to full training soon so that he will then be available for the Champions League latter stages."

A further statement added: "There is no other reason for the decision and suggestions to the contrary are unfair on both Michael, who is attempting to get fit as soon as possible, and our medical team in whom we have every confidence."

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer said that it would have been more beneficial for Ballack if he had joined Manchester United.

"I think it was a mistake to move to Chelsea," he told German newspaper Bild.

"There was a space available for his position with Manchester United and he would have fitted into their system perfectly.

"The same with Real Madrid. But at Chelsea his role was already filled by Frank Lampard."

Ballack to undergo ankle surgery
02 Jul 07 |  Chelsea
Ballack 'wrong to join Chelsea'
25 Jan 07 |  Chelsea


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