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Page last updated at 20:02 GMT, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 21:02 UK

Ballack warns Lahm over Germany captaincy

Philipp Lahm, Michael Ballack and coach Joachim Loew
Germany coach Joachim Loew will have to choose between Lahm and Ballack

Injured Germany captain Michael Ballack has warned World Cup skipper Philipp Lahm he expects to take back the armband on his return to fitness.

Lahm, 26, led Germany to third place in South Africa in the absence of Ballack and wants to keep the role.

But Ballack, 33, said: "This is no issue for me. I am the captain.

"A player cannot request in what position he wants to play and it is the same with the captaincy. One should respect this. There are hierarchies."

Ballack was ruled out of the tournament because of an ankle injury suffered playing for Chelsea against Portsmouth in last season's FA Cup final.

The midfielder, who signed a two-year deal with Bayer Leverkusen in June, saw his country play impressively in South Africa before they lost to eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals.

Ballack, capped 98 times by Germany, added: "Philipp has made his claim at a moment that I feel is inopportune. I was injured and could not defend myself.

"I am going to talk to Philipp about this business."

Lahm last week told the Bild newspaper: "It is clear I would like to retain the captaincy. The job is a lot of fun for me. Why should I then voluntarily give up the role?"

The issue is dividing opinion in Germany with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and ex-skipper Lothar Matthaus taking different sides.

Despite being Lahm's club-mate at Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger, told newspaper Die Welt: "For me, it is Ballack who is the captain.

"Philipp took on the role solely because Michael was injured."

But Matthaus has said: "I don't mean that in a spiteful way but Ballack was arguably holding up a number of players who've now blossomed."

Coach Joachim Loew, who has yet to sign a new contract with the German football federation, has not commented on the situation.

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see also
Lahm out to keep German captaincy
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ballack rejoins Bayer Leverkusen
25 Jun 10 |  Chelsea
Lahm replaces Ballack as captain
28 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Germany career not over - Ballack
19 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Injured Ballack out of World Cup
17 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Chelsea linked with move for Lahm
15 Jun 06 |  Chelsea


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