FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Former Germany captain Michael Ballack stepped up his sharp criticism of Germany coach Joachim Loew, saying he had already decided to quit the national team when Loew announced that the player had no future with the squad.
The 34-year-old former Chelsea midfielder said Sunday that he wanted to announce the decision himself.
Ballack and the German soccer federation have been trading barbs ever since Loew made the announcement Thursday.
''It's a pity that I now have to read again statements that do not reflect the truth and to which I have to react,'' Ballack said in a statement distributed by his Bundesliga club, Bayer Leverkusen.
Ballack said he made the decision in May.
''We agreed that I would make the announcement myself during the summer break,'' Ballack said.
Ballack has 98 caps but has not played for Germany in more than a year and missed seven months with an ankle injury, including last year's World Cup in South Africa, where Germany finished third.
Ballack, who had 42 goals in a Germany career that began in April 1999, never won a major title with the national team. He was Germany's captain in 55 games.
Ballack's last game for Germany was in March 2010, a 1-0 loss to Argentina in a friendly.
His club career included stints with Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayer Munich and Chelsea.
When his contract at Chelsea was not extended, Ballack returned to Leverkusen and struggled to make the starting lineup after coming back from an ankle injury. But he finished the season strongly.