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Ballack hits back at Rummenigge criticism

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 22:23 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Germany captain Michael Ballack has hit back at criticism from Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge over his decision to leave Munich for English champions Chelsea.

In an interview with Sport-Bild newspaper published on Wednesday, Ballack dismissed Rummenigge's comment that Bayern did the right thing by "letting Ballack go" on a free transfer at the end of last season.

"Herr Rummenigge should simply tell the truth and accept the fact a player decides to go to another club," Ballack said, adding that Rummenigge's comments "just make me laugh".

Bayern had made Ballack, 30, the most lucrative offer in club history in 2005 which would have extended his contract beyond mid-2006 after he had led them to three Bundesliga championships and three German Cups in his four seasons in Munich.

After the midfielder decided not to stay, Rummenigge publicly questioned Ballack's character and commercial manager Uli Hoeness said Ballack was only interested in another currency rather than another culture and language as he had claimed.

Ballack was jeered at his final home match in Munich after the public bashing from Rummenigge and Hoeness while at the same time his future Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was calling him "one of the best players in the world".

Ballack said the jeers had hurt and blamed Rummenigge at the time for whipping up public sentiment against him.

Last season Ballack scored 14 league goals, most of them decisive, in his final Bundesliga campaign while leading Bayern to their second consecutive league and cup double.

Noting Bayern's struggles this season after they dominated last season, Ballack said he had long urged Bayern executives to acquire a playmaker but said he got fined for his suggestion.

"But it shows now that I wasn't far off with my ideas," Ballack said, referring to Bayern's struggles in the first half of the season where they lacked creativity in midfield.

Ballack said he was still adjusting to England and finding it difficult to take advantage of his strength in the air.

"I sometimes miss a good cross I'd get from Willy Sagnol or Philipp Lahm. Chelsea's style is different than at Bayern. It's difficult to take advantage of my strength in the air."

Ballack said even though Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho had included him in the group of key players: "No one has a job guarantee. I think I've been on the pitch because I've been doing my job well, because I fit in the team and can help it.

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