Former Germany captain Michael Ballack scored a hat trick in his farewell game in Leipzig on Wednesday, as he officially brought the curtain down on a glittering career that lasted for nearly two decades. The 36-year-old invited his friends to join him against a World XI coached by Ballack’s former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho.
Rudi Voller took charge of the Friends of Ballack XI, which included Didier Drogba, Roman Weidenfeller, Philipp Lahm, Ulf Kristen, Andriy Shevchenko, Michael Essien, Miroslav Klose, Lothar Matthaus and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher, in front of 44,000 at Leipzig’s Zentralstadion. Team Ballack won the encounter 4-3.
Ballack chose Leipzig because he began his career in 1995 in the former East German town of Chemnitz, which is just 50 miles from Leipzig. "I intended not to cry," Ballack said when he was substituted 83 minutes into the game. The former Bayer Leverkusen and Chelsea midfielder fought back the tears with Frank Sinatra's My Way playing in the background.