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May 21, 2010

THE German Football Federation have confirmed that captain Michael Ballack is out of the World Cup.

The Chelsea midfielder, 33, was injured by a rash tackle from Kevin-Prince Boateng during Saturday's FA Cup Final win against Portsmouth.

A scan has revealed ankle ligament damage and the news is a massive blow to the player and his country.

Ballack, who is out of contract at Stamford Bridge, would have been a key figure for Germany and will not get another chance to play at the very highest level.

He was voted into the World Cup All-Star team for his performances in both the 2002 and 2006 tournaments, although suspension ruled him out of the Final defeat to Brazil eight years ago.

The former Bayern Munich star was due to have his injury assessed on Sunday but his ankle was so swollen the examinations were delayed.

Coach Joachim Low will have to consider other options with Bastian Schweinsteiger's role set to take on even more importance in the absence of his influential skipper.

Ballack has already hinted he may retire from international football in the near future and it's unlikely he'll ever be seen in his country's colours again, despite only being two apepearances away from 100 caps.

"This is obviously very disappointing," he said. "But you have to accept it.

"That is football, it must go on somehow

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