Official: Ballack retires from football

The former Bayern Munich and Chelsea man has decided to hang up his boots and end his illustrious career after almost two decades as a professional
Former Germany and Bayern Munich captain Michael Ballack has announced his retirement from the game at the age of 36.

The midfielder, who represented four different sides in the Champions League and appeared in 98 games for Die Mannschaft, has decided to end his career after he was released by Bayer Leverkusen earlier this year.

Ballack announced his decision via a news statement from his lawyer, in which he thanks everyone who supported him during his time as footballer.

"At 36 years old I can look back on a long and wonderful time in professional football, which I could never have dreamed of as a child," he said.

"It was a privilege to work with world-class coaches and fantastic players. Now I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life."

"It's been a privilege to work with excellent coaches and players. I will surely miss to play in front of 80.000 fans or score a goal. The last months without active football did reveal that it's about time to quit," he later told Kicker.

"I have to thank my family and all the wonderful people who accompanied, backed and advanced me. All of them have a huge stake in my success."

Ballack, who is largely considered one of Germany's greatest ever midfielders, retires from football having never won an international tournament, and having lost two Champions League finals.

Nevertheless, the 36-year-old will look back fondly on the four Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals, one Premier League title, three FA Cups an a League Cup he won during his time with Kaiserslautern, Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Chelsea amongst others.