I am still the captain, asserts Michael Ballack

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Michael Ballack
Frankfurt, Jul 16: The skippers' spat continues to grow ugly with the injured Michael Ballack now asserting his position as the captain of the national team after the current incumbent Philipp Lahm said that he does not intend on giving up captaincy.

"I am still captain of the national team," the German media quoted Ballack as saying.

His statement draws significance from Lahm's earlier statement during the FIFA World Cup 2010 that he would not give up the captain's armband of his own free will.

This statement from Lahm, under whose leadership the German squad had an impressive run in the recently concluded World Cup, irked Ballack.

"These comments irritated me. It is unlucky when you are injured and you are spoken about. You cannot go on the pitch and show the critics what you can do. You are powerless," he said.

However, he expressed confidence in the German coach Joachim Loew's decision while speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Jul 14 after his return to the club Bayer Leverkusen.

Ballack injured his ankle during former club Chelsea's FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth in May 2009. The injury kept him away from the World cup 2010 in South Africa and Lahm took over the German captaincy.

The young German squad put up quiet a performance at the World Cup. They claimed the bronze after being ousted from the campaign to lift the trophy by Spain in semi-finals.

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