MUNICH // Michael Ballack has been ruled out of the World Cup after injuring his ankle in Chelsea's FA Cup final win over Portsmouth on Saturday, the German Football Federation (DFB) said today. The DFB said Ballack underwent a scan which showed that he had partially torn a ligament in his right leg. They said his right ankle would be placed in a cast and he would have to wear a special shoe for two weeks once the cast had been removed.
The DFB said it would be eight weeks before he could resume training. The World Cup starts in South Africa on June 11. Ballack limped off with during the first half of Chelsea's 1-0 win over Portsmouth after a late tackle by Kevin-Prince Boateng. An early X-ray at the stadium showed he had not broken any bones but the 33-year-old midfielder, who has 98 caps, was still worried as he left the ground.
His absence is a huge blow for coach Joachim Loew, who yesterday described Ballack as "our captain and absolute leading player." Germany face Australia, Serbia and Ghana in Group D at the World Cup. * Reuters