Michael Ballack Wallpaper (Chelsea)
Michael Ballack (born September 26, 1976 in Görlitz, Saxony) is a German footballer. A midfielder, he is the current captain of the German national team, and plays club football for Chelsea in the English Premier League. In all the teams he has played in, he has always possessed the number 13 shirt.Ballack agreed to join Chelsea on a free transfer on May 15, 2006.During his last season as a Bayern player there were rumours of interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid and A.C. Milan, but Ballack instead chose to go to Stamford Bridge. Shortly after arriving at Chelsea, Ballack stated that he hoped to end his career at Stamford Bridge.Ballack's debut for Chelsea came on Monday July 31, 2006, during a practice match at UCLA's intramural football pitch. Chelsea presented him to the media the following day where the club also gave him his favoured number 13 shirt, worn throughout his career. Upon doing so, William Gallas who previously wore the number 13 shirt for Chelsea was given the number 3 shirt. On August 27, 2006, Ballack earned his English League debut for Chelsea against Blackburn Rovers, and his UEFA Champions League debut for Chelsea against Werder Bremen.Ballack scored his first goal for Chelsea on September 21, 2006 in the latter match against Werder Bremen. He received his first straight red card of his career in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Liverpool on September 17, 2006, after being judged to have stamped on Mohamed Sissoko's leg. Ballack scored his first goal in the English League on October 21, 2006 against Portsmouth at home with a header. His first FA Cup goal came in the 109th minute in a match against Blackburn Rovers on April 15, 2007. This goal resulted in Chelsea progressing into the FA Cup final. He scored eight goals in all competitions for the club in the 2006–07 season, including a free-kick against Everton at Goodison Park, as well as a half-volley against FC Porto which sent Chelsea through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.On April 28, 2007, Chelsea released a statement on their official website, informing fans that Ballack had undergone ankle surgery in Munich. As a result of the surgery, Ballack did not play in the FA Cup Final against Manchester United, which Chelsea won 1–0 through Didier Drogba's extra time goal. This was Ballack's second trophy this season, his first being the Carling Cup.Chelsea left Ballack out of their Champions League squad for the 2007-08 group stage as they realised that his injury would prevent him from playing any useful part and preferred to select the fully fit Steve Sidwell. The German international had an ankle operation in the summer and Chelsea could not take the risk of him not regaining full fitness before the end of the Group Stage. Thus, Ballack could not play in the Champions League before the knockout stages began in February.The club was only able to select 23 out of a possible 25 players for their Champions League squad due to the new UEFA regulations on 'association-trained players' and 'club-trained players'. Due to this regulation Chelsea were also unable to select young player Scott Sinclair and could only pick 23 players as their only 'club-trained player' was John Terry. For this reason it was deemed unwise to gamble on Ballack being fit at some point.He was absent for eight months with an ankle injury, during which he feared that his football career might be in danger of ending as he was getting older. He made his return to the side in Chelsea's 2–0 Carling Cup win over Liverpool on December 19. Ballack tallied an assist late in the game to striker Andriy Shevchenko. On December 26, Ballack made his league return in a thrilling game against Aston Villa which ended 4–4. He came on for Frank Lampard in the 26th minute after the latter had picked up a thigh injury. In first-half stoppage time, he won a penalty after being brought down in the box by Zat Knight which Andriy Shevchenko converted. In the 88th minute, with the scores tied at 3–3, Ballack stepped up to take a free-kick which he buried into the bottom left corner of the goal, but the match ended in a 4–4 draw.Ballack captained the Chelsea team in the absence of captain John Terry, vice captain Frank Lampard in a 2–1 win over Newcastle on December 29, 2007. Ballack then played his 50th game in a Chelsea shirt in a 2–1 win against Fulham in which he scored the winning goal for Chelsea. He also scored the only goal that won the match for Chelsea against Reading to extend the blues' winning streak to a record of 9. And, on March 5, he scored again, this time against Olympiacos CFP in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in a 3-0 win.With Chelsea's progress to the 2007–2008 Champions League Quarter-Finals, Michael Ballack is the only player to have reached the Champions League Quarter-Finals with four different clubs. He scored the winning goal in the 2-0 win in the 2nd leg of the Quarter-Finals against Fenerbahçe S.K., a victory that secured Chelsea a place in the Semi-Finals.Ballack continued to score vital goals and on April 26, 2008, he scored a header and a penalty to give Chelsea a 2-1 win over Manchester United. He was named Man of The Match for his performance. It brought the two teams level in the race for the Premier League title only two matchdays before the end of the season.The season ended on a low note for Ballack as Chelsea finished runners up in the Carling Cup, Premier League and UEFA Champions League. This completed a treble horror for Chelsea and Ballack. On 29 June 2008 Germany, captained by Ballack, lost to Spain 1-0 in the final of Euro 2008. This became the second season in Ballack's career that he was runner-up for four major trophies.The 2008/09 season started well for Ballack, he set up Joe Cole to score the first goal in a 4-0 win over Portsmouth in the first game of the season.