Top Stories

Mid-Day Ticker: Ballack retires, Solskjaer linked to Blackburn job, and more

MichaelBallack (

Michael Ballack, the man who scored the winning goal to defeat the U.S. Men's national team in the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, has retired from professional soccer.

The former German national team captain most recently spent the summer as a TV analyst for ESPN during the European championships, and had been linked to a move to Major League Soccer, but that move never materialized and he has decided to stop playing at the age of 36.

Ballack made 98 appearances for Germany, scoring 42 international goals, including that winner against the USA. He enjoyed an outstanding career that included stops at Bayern Munich, Chelsea and twice with Bayer Leverkusen.

Here are some more stories to get you through the day:


Former Manchester United star and current Molde FK manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been identified as a leading candidate to take over the head coaching job at Blackburn. Steve Kean quit as manager last week.

Solskjaer's name has been added to a list of candidates that includes Tim Sherwood and Bernd Schuster. The young manager won a league title with Norwegian side Molde in his first season in charge, and currently has Molde in a tie for first place.

Molde happens to be the club of impressive young American winger Josh Gatt, who just might be a player Solksjaer would take with him if and when he leaves Molde. Gatt has been one of Molde's best players under Solsksjaker, 


Montreal centerback Nelson Rivas will miss the rest of the season, and be sidelined five months, after undergoing microfracture knee surgery.

Rivas had been carrying a nagging injury for some time before the Impact decided to shut him down for the rest of the season so he could have his knee repaired.

The Colombian centerback started 11 matches for the Impact, but only played in four matches in the past three months.


Out-of-favor Spanish national team striker Fernando Llorente stormed out of training on Monday after a verbal altercation with Athletic Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa, a new low-point for an ever-worsening relationship between the striker and his club.

A top transfer taret for Europe's biggest teams, Llorente has fallen out of favor with Bielsa, who has used him sparingly this season. Llorente is entering the final year of his contract with Bilbao and looks like a good bet to leave next summer, assuming he isn't sold this winter.

Llorente has scored just one goal for Athletic Bilbao this season, and has been limited to six appearances off the bench. The club sits 17th in the Spanish Premier League standings.


Steven Pienaar has retired from the South African national team.

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has been ruled out for three weeks with a thigh strain.


Surprised to see Ballack hang up his boots? Think Solskjaer will eventually be a successful manager in England? See Gatt joinin him in England if he makes the move?

Share your thoughts below. 


  1. I watched him on ESPN. His analysis was great but he’s too stiff in front of the camera and very mono-tone. Too dull to watch, I preferred watching him on the pitch, not in the studio.

  2. yup he turned down Aston Villa, so why would he go for blackburn?!?

    i guess everyone thinks he needs a stepping stone before he takes over for Sir Alex whenever he retires, probably 20 years from now or after his 100th birthday

  3. Huh? Ballack did not throw a fit. He was injured in a vicious foot stomp before WC 2010 by Kevin Prince Boateng and could not play in South Africa and Jogi Low, who felt threatened by Ballack but did not want to risk demoting him, took advantage of the opportunity and with the the help of Philip Lahm the Backstabber (ask Klinsmann about that) made sure that Ballack never got another chance with the squad nor did he get the dignified exit from the national team that he deserved.

  4. Ole is not going to Blackburn. They can add everyone from him to Mourinho to their “short list” and it doesn’t mean anything. Why would he leave Molde for that mess of a team, one that has been relegated? He refused job offers from actual Premier League teams with competent ownership/management/players already!

  5. This is a bit sad. Before there was Reus, Goetze, Oezil, and Schweini there was just Ballack as the hope of an entire nation. Deisler should have been, but he was too fragile of body and mind to handle it.

    People will forget that he really went to Chelsea a year or two too late.

    He only had a few great years at Bayern because Ottmar Hitzfeld was too much of a discipline freak to allow him into the penalty area. Then they got Felix Magath as a coach who is a great drill sergeant, but not a good enough tactician for the Champions League.

    Ballack had some good moments with the German national team, but some of you will remember when he scored 17 league goals (mostly as a deep lying midfielder!!!!). Ah…what a special team that was.

    It was unfortunate that he got injured right before the 2010 World Cup. It’s difficult to say whether or not he would have helped or hindered the team.

    Nevertheless, he led Germany to a World Cup final, a World Cup semi-final (and third place), and a European Champion final.

    42 goals for your country ain’t bad either.

    Lebe wohl, #13.

  6. MLS dodged a big one not getting involved with Ballack. I’ll always remember his throwing a fit about losing his captaincy and place in the German squad back in 2010

  7. Perhaps another reason why Gatt gets a call for national team duty over some other worthy omissions: a basis to get Gatt a work permit in the EPL or another top league when Solskjaer moves, which is inevitable.

  8. That Ballack goal brings back some memories…

    Oliver Kahn was HUGE…

    Damn you Torsten Frings and Hugh Dallas…

    If only Sanneh got that late header on frame…


Leave a Comment