Ballack laughed off the Manchester United manager's comments, smiling: "Fergie's comments cannot be taken seriously.
"I don't think Ferguson was talking about me or any other specific player. But 31 is no age for a footballer. Look at Claude Makelele - he was 35 yet still played well last season."
But Ballack said after joining pre-season training yesterday: "I think this sort of thing happens in the summer. You tickle each other a bit."