Former Germany and Bayern Munich captain Michael Ballack has retired at the age of 36.
Ballack, who represented four different clubs in the Champions League, made the decision after he was released by Bayer Leverkusen earlier this year.
The midfielder had been linked with a move to fledging Australian outfit Western Sydney Wanderers, but was overlooked in favour of Japanese star Shinji Ono.
“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,” Ballack 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.”
He later told German sports magazine Kicker: “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.
“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 players, made 96 appearances for the national team.
He also enjoyed consistent success at club level, winning four Bundesliga titles, three German Cups, one Premier League title and three FA Cups during his time with Kaiserslautern, Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Chelsea amongst others.
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