Ballack ruled out of World Cup by injury

CHELSEA and Germany star Michael Ballack has admitted his despair at being ruled out of the World Cup with an ankle injury.

Ballack, 33, was set to captain his country at this summer’s tournament before suffering torn ligaments in Saturday’s FA Cup final victory.

The midfielder was forced to limp off after a challenge from Portsmouth’s Kevin-Prince Boateng, and scans yesterday confirmed he will be sidelined for eight weeks.

“It’s bitter to get that diagnosis before the World Cup,” said Ballack. “This is obviously very disappointing, but you have to accept it. That’s football, it must go on somehow.”

A statement from the German football association read: “A tear of the medial collateral ligament of the right ankle was found. The right ankle is immobilised in a plaster.

“He will have to wear a special shoe for two weeks. Ballack’s return to training is possible at the earliest in eight weeks.”

Ballack now seems certain to have played in his last World Cup and perhaps even his last major international tournament.

Germany boss Joachim Low, who faces a tricky group that also includes Ghana, Serbia and Australia, conceded the absence was a blow but insisted they would overcome it.

“We are shocked,” he said. “The loss of Michael Ballack is serious. We are all very, very sad that such an important player, our captain, who is a true world class player has been ruled out.

“We continue to hope we will have a good World Cup. Experience teaches us that in such cases, young players often come to the fore and grow.”