Former Germany captain Michael Ballack, who has been without a club since his Bayer Leverkusen contract expired last June, has confirmed his retirement.
Ballack, who served as an ESPN analyst during last summer's European Championship, had reportedly been negotiating with MLS and Australia A-League clubs.
"At 36 years of age, I can look back on a long and wonderful time in professional soccer, which I could never have dreamed of as a child," he said in a statement. "It was a privilege to have worked with world-class coaches and fantastic players. Of course, I will miss playing or scoring a goal in front of 80,000 fans, but the last few months without soccer have shown me that it is time to stop."
A native of the former East Germany, Ballack played for Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern in the Bundesliga and for with Chelsea in the English Premier League. He played for Germany in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and earned 98 caps.