Uli advised Ballack to quit
Uli Hoeness claims that Michael Ballack should have retired from international football during the summer.
By Razwan Mirza
Last Updated: 11/09/10 1:32pm
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness claims that Michael Ballack should have retired from international football during the summer.
The midfielder picked up a serious ankle injury whilst playing for former club Chelsea in the FA Cup final victory against Portsmouth back in May.
The Germany international was subsequently ruled out of the World Cup finals in South Africa and defender Philipp Lahm took over the captaincy.
And, as Lahm did an excellent job in leading the team to the semi-finals, Ballack's return as captain has been debated in Germany.
Head coach Joachim Low announced that the 33-year-old, who re-signed for Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, would be restored as national team skipper once he has proved his form and fitness.
However, Hoeness claims he will lose the respect of his fellow professionals after deciding to continue, when it would have been easier to retire with his head held high.
"I advised him (to retire before the World Cup) as a friend - I did not mean anything nasty," Hoeness told Bild newspaper.
"The fact is, if he had followed my advice, he would have spared himself a lot of grief.
"The situation has now changed. Back then, he would have retired from a strong position but after everything which has now happened, I can understand why he is continuing.
"You need strong nerves in sport and he has them."