Ballack’s web removal is ‘normal’

AFP , Thursday 15 Sep 2011

Michael Ballack's removal from the website of the German Football Federation (DFB) is no slight on the former national team captain, DFB president Theo Zwanziger said Thursday

German midfielder Michael Ballack

On the DFB homepage, Ballack used to be seen leading a group of Germany's key players, but the image has now been changed with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger posing in the centre instead.

The former Chelsea star, who turns 35 at the end of the month, has not played for Germany since March 2010 and in June, Ballack was told by national coach Joachim Loew he is not part of his future plans.

He then turned down the invitation to join the Germany squad for August's friendly win over Brazil in what would have been his official farewell.

But Zwanziger says Ballack's removal from the picture is no slight on the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder.

"I think this is a normal process," he told German daily Bild.

"The same also applies to other officials at the DFB who are longer in office."

Having made his first appearance for Germany in 1999 against Scotland, Ballack has played 98 times for Germany and scored 48 goals.

He captained his country from 2004 until 2010.

Germany were the first team to qualify for Euro 2012, to be held in Poland and the Ukraine next year, when they beat Austria 6-2 in Gelsenkirchen at the start of September.

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