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As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Ex-Chelsea star Ballack's international career over

Michael Ballack's stellar career in a Germany shirt is over after the German Football Federation (DFB) told him he would no longer be considered.

The 34-year old former Chelsea midfielder, currently with Bayer Leverkusen, has made 98 appearances for Die Mannschaft, scoring 42 goals, but has not represented his country since before last summer's World Cup.

Germany manager Joachim Low said that he wanted to focus on giving young players international opportunities, meaning Ballack had become redundant to him.

"Over the last few months, many young players have come into focus and the development of the team has run smoothly since the 2010 World Cup," he said.

"We have discussed the issue of Michael Ballack several times, most recently in late March 2011, and it has come to a stage to make a clear decision. In our conversations, I had the impression that Michael had some sympathy for our view."

Low added on www.dfb.de: "For a decade, Michael Ballack has been a leading player in the national team and had an enormous stake in the success of the team since the 2002 World Cup.

"His ability and class speak volumes, as do his eye for goal and his nerves of steel, especially in big games.

"We (the DFB) would like to say a sincere thank you for his great contribution to German football."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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