Veteran Germany international Michael Ballack has criticised international colleague Philipp Lahm for what he sees as a lack of respect.
The 34-year-old midfielder believes that Lahm was wrong to publicly state his intent to usurp Ballack for the German captaincy in 2011.
“It’s a question of respect towards the captain,” Ballack told Express. “I have a clear opinion on this: to focus attention on the issue publicly at that time was wrong. If he had spoken to me, it would have left me with a very different impression.”
Ballack went on to suggest that his relationship with Lahm has been strained by the remarks.
“We have since spoken briefly,” he added. “I still maintain you shouldn’t do something like that.”
“But we are professionals and something like that should not ever play a role.”
The Bayer Leverkusen man, who has been injured since May and missed out on the World Cup, went on to explain that he believes he will play for the national side again.
“I will prove myself again, but I feel that at 34 years of age, it will be harder to reach the level to be able to play at the top again,” added Ballack. “This is a huge challenge. I also have a commitment to my club Bayer Leverkusen and the fans who expect a lot of me.”
“I will return some of the faith they have placed in me.”