Germany captain Michael Ballack will miss the World Cup because of torn ligaments in his right ankle, a serious blow to the three-time champions less than a month before the tournament.
The 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder was hurt during a foul by Kevin-Prince Boateng during his club’s 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth on Saturday.
“I am sorry. there was no intent. I was too late and hit him with full force,” Boateng said.
Ballack’s ankle is in a cast, and the German soccer federation said Ballack won’t be able to train for at least eight weeks. A full recovery is expected.
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“It’s football and you have to live with it. … I am angry, clearly,” Ballack told German television.
The injury probably robs Ballack, Germany’s three-time player of the year, of his final chance to win the World Cup after reaching the 2002 final and the 2006 semifinals. Ballack has made 98 appearances for Germany and scored 42 goals.
“We are shocked, no question about it, and we are all very, very sad,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “He is a very important player for us, a world class player who played a very important role in decisive games for us.”
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