Ballack's 'terrible body odour' made him impossible to mark, claims legend Chilavert

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The legendary shot-stopper joked it might have been a strategy to keep defenders off him after the two met in the 2002 World Cup

Paraguay goalkeeping legend Jose Luis Chilavert has revealed that part of the difficulty in defending Michael Ballack had to do with the midfielder’s strong body odour.

Chilavert had an illustrious career for Paraguay, representing the nation 74 times between 1989 and 2003, and scored an impressive eight goals, despite his position.

He got the opportunity to represent Paraguay at a pair of World Cup finals - 1998 and 2002 - both trips to the round of 16 for the South American nation.

The 2002 knockout round match featured a showdown with eventual runner-up Germany, during which Chilavert noted humourously that the former Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Chelsea man Ballack had a strong deterrent to anyone marking him.

“You couldn't get near Ballack because his BO [body odour] was terrible, absolutely terrible,” Chilavert told ESPN .

“He should have used more deodorant or a lemon. Perhaps it was a strategy, who knows!”

Chilavert said the unenviable task of marking Ballack that game fell to Estanislao Struway. Ultimately, Ballack was held off the scoresheet, but Germany went on to win the match and advance thanks to an 88th-minute goal from Oliver Neuville.

The ESPN interview also saw Chilavert return to an old controversy as well, explaining once more as to why he spat in the face of former Brazil and Real Madrid defender Roberto Carlos in 2001.

The goalkeeper claimed he did so because the left-back had made a racist comment toward him and grabbed his private parts.

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During the latest interview, he did not mention the latter, but repeated the claim that the defender had racially abused him.

“I spat at him when he told me, ‘Indian, we beat you 2-0.’ That's the reason I did it," Chilavert said. 

Chilavert played for seven teams over the course of his club career, including Strasbourg, though he appeared most with Velez Sarsfield in Argentina.

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