Michael Ballack has played down speculation about a potential rift between him and Jurgen Klinsmann.

The Germany boss decided to rest his skipper for their World Cup opener against Costa Rica - even though the future Chelsea star had made himself available less than 24 hours before kick-off. Klinsmann ruled it would be "too risky" to play the 29-year-old through a nagging calf strain, with Ballack obviously holding a completely different view.

"I told the coach yesterday that I was feeling well, that I can play, that I want to play and that I don´t have any problems any more," Ballack told PA Sport after Germany´s 4-2 thrashing of Costa Rica.

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms