|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
Germany legend Lothar Matthaus has said that Michael Ballack should consider retiring from international football as the team played better without him at the World Cup.
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Ballack was injured by a tackle from Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng in the FA Cup final a few weeks before the tournament and missed out on Germany's run to the semi-finals. Having been replaced by Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira in the side, Philipp Lahm took over the captaincy and now Matthaus believes Ballack has no place in the squad.
"Germany have played better without Ballack and have had more success. Other players have taken the lead and there is a new hierarchy within the team," he told the Sun. "I understand Ballack's ambition and desire to return but he should resign. Standing down would show true greatness, the realisation the team is strong enough without him.''
Matthaus said last week that Ballack's absence had helped the German team to reach the semi-finals and that it had aided the development of the squad's younger players.
"I'm genuinely upset for Michael Ballack but his absence has helped Germany,'' he said in the wake of the 4-1 win over England. ''I don't mean that in a spiteful way, but Ballack was arguably holding up a number of players who have now blossomed.
"Each of them has taken on a little more responsibility and Germany are playing with far more pace. Ballack often took a lot of pace out of the game, but that wouldn't fit the mentality of this young team. Missing out is a personal catastrophe for Michael, but it has benefited Germany."