Ballack calls it a day
Farewell: Michael Ballack (36) announced his retirement on Tuesday.
He then moved to newly-promoted Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern...
...where, aged just 21,he was able to celebrate the Bundesliga title in his first season at the club, making 16 appearances under coach Otto Rehagel
After one more year at Kaiserslautern, Ballack moved to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the summer of 2009. Over the next three seasons, he went on to
Ballack was unable to guide his side to trophy success, with
The midfielder would also have to settle for a silver medal in the German Cup final, after Leverkusen suffered a 4-2 defeat to Schalke 04 in Berlin
As part of the Germany national side, Ballack reached the 2002 World Cup final in Japan and South Korea, scoring the winning goal
Moving to FC Bayern Munich, Ballack finally quenched his thirst for silverware, winning three Bundesliga titles between 2002 and 2006 at the Bavarian club
Alongside Oliver Kahn, Ballack was also part of the Bayern side that twice claimed the domestic double under coach Felix Magath
...but it wasn't to be, as Germany were eliminated in the semi-finals by Italy
Ballack's next station was Premier League side Chelsea, who would go on to lift their first-ever Premier League title with Jose Mourinho (r.) at the helm
The German enjoyed a memorable stay in west London, winning the FA Cup three times with his new club...
...and winning the Premier League title in 2009/2010
Heartache was never far away, though, as the Chelsea No.13 could only manage another runners-up medal
Ballack's stunning free kick booked Germany's place in the last eight of the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland...
...but it was another case of what might have been, as a solitary strike from Spain's Fernando Torres
Ballack's final competitive outing at Chelsea, in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth, reached a heart-wrenching conclusion
The then 34-year-old returned to Leverkusen after four years at Chelsea, but injury hampered his playing time at his former haunt
After two more years in which Ballack scored twice in 35 Bundesliga appearances, the German midfielder bowed out of the Bundesliga in Leverkusen's final game
"I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my life and would like to thank my family and all the