Apologetic Ballack to remain Germany captain

October 31, 2008

BERLIN, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Michael Ballack will remain captain of Germany's national soccer team after apologising for his public criticism of coach Joachim Loew, the German FA (DFB) announced on Friday.

"Joachim Loew and Michael Ballack were able to establish a new basis of trust during their private meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday and Michael Ballack will therefore remain team captain," the DFB said in a statement.

Ballack flew to Frankfurt at Loew's request on Thursday to discuss comments made to a German newspaper about the way team mate Torsten Frings was dropped from the country's last two World Cup qualifiers.

Ballack had already issued a public statement ahead of the meeting, saying that he would apologise to Loew.

"The precondition (for Ballack remaining captain) was that he had apologised to Loew, allowing the conflict to be resolved," the DFB added.

Ballack, who is sidelined after having surgery on both feet earlier this month, said in the DFB statement it "was not acceptable" for him to comment in public on Loew's decisions.

"He is the national coach, he makes the decisions and we all have to accept that," said the midfielder.

"Following our discussion I do not have the slightest doubt the national team will achieve its aims within a good atmosphere."

Loew said it was important the talks took place openly.

"Michael Ballack remains my captain but he as captain must also stick to our rules," Loew said in the DFB statement.

"He knows he can discuss anything with me internally but that all sporting... decisions are ultimately made by our training staff and I have made that absolutely clear to Michael.

"I am delighted a fantastic player, who has played a major role in our past successes, will now continue to help us reach our goal of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup."