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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 11:53 UK

Germany captain Michael Ballack ruled out of World Cup

Ballack was injured in the 35th minute of the FA Cup final
Ballack was injured in the 35th minute of the FA Cup final

Germany captain Michael Ballack has been ruled out of this summer's World Cup because of the right ankle injury he suffered in Saturday's FA Cup final.

The 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder has made 98 appearances for his country and played in the last two World Cups.

A scan showed damage to two ligaments but it is expected to be eight weeks before he can resume training and Germany's first match is on 13 June.

"It's bitter to get a diagnosis like that before the World Cup," he said.

Ballack was injured after a challenge by Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Ironically, Boateng could be part of the Ghana squad that will face Germany in Group D at the finals in South Africa.

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The former Tottenham player was born in Germany and represented German youth teams but chose to play for Ghana, his father's country of birth.

After Fifa removed the age limit for players who want to switch national allegiance, the 23-year-old was cleared to appear for Ghana in the finals and has been named in a provisional 30-man squad.

The Portsmouth midfielder's late tackle in the 35th minute of Chelsea's Cup final victory at Wembley led to Ballack limping off.

An early X-ray at the stadium showed no broken bones but a further scan in Germany on Monday highlighted the full extent of the problem.

The German Football Federation said Ballack's right ankle will be placed in a cast and he will have to wear a special shoe for two weeks after the cast is removed.

A Chelsea statement confirmed: "The German national team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, estimates the earliest possible return to training for the player is in eight weeks."

Ballack, who joined Chelsea in 2006 after four years with Bayern Munich, sustained a tear of one ankle ligament and a partial tear of another.

"There's naturally a lot of disappointment," he said. "But that's football. That happens. Life goes on."

Germany coach Joachim Loew said: "We were all naturally shocked this morning when we got the news. I talked to Michael. He's deeply disappointed. He put all his energy and power into playing in this World Cup.

Injured German Captain Michael Ballack

Archive - Ballack the hero for Germany in 2002

"He's near his 100th cap. That would have been a match in Frankfurt against Bosnia.

"That's an immense disappointment for him to not be able to play in this World Cup."

Loew hopes the setback might galvanise his squad as the World Cup unfolds and added: "I called the team together and spoke with the team and passed along the information.

"It's very, very unfortunate for us. But it shows we have to pull all our strength together and look forward. We've got a lot of young players.

"We've now got to get to that point that our younger players get this self-confidence and can grew into the roles."

Boateng's half-brother Jerome, the Hamburg defender, is in the German provisional squad and the coach has requested that he is not targeted by fans and the media.

"I have spoken with Jerome Boateng," Loew explained. "I told him that we absolutely unreservedly stand by him. He is a member of the family.

"I ask everyone not to drag him into this."

Ballack impressed for Germany during the 2008 European Championship, when they were eventually beaten 1-0 in the final by Spain, and was considered a key figure for them again this summer.

The Germans begin their campaign against Australia on 13 June before matches against Serbia on 18 June and Ghana on 23 June.



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see also
Beck dropped from Germany squad
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
15 May 10 |  FA Cup
Terry criticises FA over Wembley
15 May 10 |  FA Cup
FA Cup final as it happened
15 May 10 |  Football
FA Cup final photos
15 May 10 |  Football


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