Former-Chelsea star announces retirement

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Former-Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 36.

The ex-Germany captain left Bayer Leverkusen at the end of last season, and was thought to be looking for a new club, with a move to the Austrialian A-League rumoured.

But Ballack has confirmed his retirement through a statement from his lawyer.

"At 36 years old I can look back on a long and wonderful time in professional football, which I could never have dreamed of as a child," Ballack said.

The former-Bayern Munich star spent four years at Stamford Bridge, winning one League Cup, one Premier League and three FA Cups.

Ballack left Chelsea in 2010 after his contract was not renewed and the Germany midfielder signed a two year deal with Leverkusen.

The 2002 World Cup finalist won 98 caps for Germany, scoring a remarkable 42 goals for his country. During his time at Bayern Munich he was widely regarded as one of the world's best central midfielders.

Chelsea signed Ballack on a free transfer before the 2006 World Cup, and the German made 167 appearances for the Blues.

The three-time German Footballer of the Year represented Germany at two World Cups and three European Championships.

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