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Ballack attracts 50,000 to farewell match

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Ballack attracts 50,000 to farewell match
Photo: DPA
07:16 CEST+02:00
Germany and Chelsea legend Michael Ballack bowed out of professional football on Wednesday night with a testimonial match. Newly-reappointed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was among the 50,000-strong crowd.

Ballack, 36, who was capped 98 times including the Euro 2008 final defeat by Spain, scored three times in the 4-3 win by his side 'Ballack's friends' against an invitational team playing in Leipzig.

"It is fantastic that after such a long season so many international stars [former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba was among them] came to play," purred Ballack.

"It has really been a super career despite some difficult moments," added Ballack, who won four Bundesliga titles, one with Kaiserslautern and three with Bayern Munich, and a Premier League title and FA Cup with Chelsea.

Mourinho, who brought Ballack to Chelsea in 2006, was full of praise for the attacking midfielder.

"He was a fantastic player for Chelsea and for Germany," said Mourinho.

"I wish him from the bottom of my heart all the happiness in the world in his retirement."

German national coach Joachim Löw was also among the crowd even though he and Ballack had a troubled relationship.

AFP/hc

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