Ballack mum on future


LUXEMBOURG, July 7 – Michael Ballack refused to discuss his international future on Tuesday, despite calls for his retirement, with the injured midfielder preferring instead to pledge his support to his World Cup team-mates.Ballack was forced to skip the World Cup in South Africa, but his team has thrived in his absence by reaching the semi-finals, where they face Spain on Wednesday.

Former Germany star Lothar Matthaeus has told the 32-year-old Ballack to quit international football, while stand-in skipper Philipp Lahm has said he wants to keep the captain’s armband after the World Cup has finished.

"I don’t want to talk about this subject," Ballack told the Essentiel newspaper’s Internet edition.

Ballack, who will play for Bayer Leverkusen next season after leaving Chelsea, said he believes Germany have every chance to make Sunday’s final.

"Everyone is playing well, they go into the semi-final with a lot of confidence," he said.

"They have beaten two good teams (England by 4-1 and Argentina 4-0) by playing great football. We have a great chance against Spain and the team is full of confidence.