Germany captain Michael Ballack fears his chance of lifting the World Cup disappeared when his side were beaten by Italy in the semi-finals.
Ballack left German champions Bayern Munich in the summer
The Chelsea midfielder, 29, starred as Germany reached the last four but says it is unlikely he will be able to lead his country in South Africa in 2010.
"I will be almost 34 and at that age there is no guarantee I will be there," Ballack told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
"I realised this could be my last chance to be a world champion."
Ballack, who has won 70 caps, skippered the Germans to the final of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea but was suspended and had to watch from the sidelines as they lost 2-0 against Brazil.
I want to win the Champions League with Chelsea
And Ballack played a significant part in Germany's run to this year's semi-finals before they were edged out by the Italians in extra-time.
Germany then triumphed in the third-place play-off with a 3-1 win over Portugal.
However, he says he will make up for disappointment at missing out on football's biggest prize by turning his attention to bringing Champions League success to Chelsea.
"It is good that I have a new challenge after the World Cup," said Ballack.
"After this highlight I do not have the routine at Bayern Munich but a new motivation. I want to win the Champions League at Chelsea.
"As usual, I will go to Italy on holiday and on July 30 I start with Chelsea."