Michael Ballack has flown to Florida to get away from the World Cup hype which has engulfed Germany. The German national team captain was forced to miss the tournament due to an ligament tear on his right ankle.
May 15, 2010. Wembley Stadium, London. It is the final of the English FA Cup were Ballack's FC Chelsea London face FC Portsmouth. Ballack is in the starting eleven and his club can win the double that afternoon. In the 35th minute a rough tackle from Portsmouth's Kevin Prince Boateng forces an early substitution before the break, but Boateng only received a yellow card for the harsh foul.
Initially the hope was that the injury isn't too threatening and that Ballack could play in South Africa, but on the Monday thereafter it became clear the "Kapitano" would miss the tournament.
And Ballack after visiting the German team in their camp in Sardinia only wanted to switch off from the big disappointment of not being able to try and finally win a big international trophy. But there are questions about his future as a club player and if he continues his international career.
If things had gone per plan then Ballack would have tonight played his 100th international game against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Frankfurt. And the captain plans to return to the German team after the World Cup. Philipp Lahm has said that he is only the stand-in captain until Ballack returns, but Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has said that Ballack should retire now from international football. Hoeness said if 2012 had been a World Cup year then Ballack should continue to play, but 2012 is only a European Championship year and at 35 he shouldn't go through the grind. But Hoeness' Bayern colleagues Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have urged Ballack to continue. Still it is a question which only Ballack can answer.
But there is a more pressing issue which Ballack will have to sort out. His contract with FC Chelsea ends on June 30 and thereafter he is a free agent. Ballack has said again and again that the London club would be his first partner to speak to, but Chelsea have kept all contract negotiations on hold for the moment.
A new rumour has come out that Jose Mourinho is interested to bring Ballack to the Bernabeu as one of his first signings at Real Madrid. Mourinho is known to be a big fan of the German midfielder since their Chelsea days and Ballack in the past had been linked with a move to Madrid.
And also if no international club options come up for Ballack then surely Bundesliga sides will be interest in an experienced player like him. The only issue would be his salary as Ballack is one of the best paid players in the world.