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  • welcome to another edition off the transfer to a podcast on the road show has brought us to Munich.

  • We're joined by the one and only Michael Ballack.

  • Michael, welcome along.

  • This is the bit where you tell us all the deals that happened during your career reveal a few secrets of the ones that didn't You happy with that?

  • We see a few comfortable Let's start at the beginning possible.

  • Who would you say was the biggest influence on your career?

  • Oh, I think I think I have to name my parents, you know, because they know me from very small Andi, Uh, they educated me.

  • Uh, yeah.

  • Astute people were always next to me and, uh uh, everything What I achieved, I think, Chief, because of them, for every Michael Ballack that I'm sure you'll understand that there are hundreds of players that don't make it.

  • How and where were you spotted on by who?

  • I mean, I grew up in East Germany, and, uh, I did normal way a CZ.

  • You might be no there.

  • There was a very well, a good education and sport.

  • There was a really focused on sport, and so I start very earlier playing on the street, you know?

  • And then it's the year of six or seven.

  • I joined the club, so the normal process and then I was really good.

  • I was talented and then the biggest club in town in Karl Marx start.

  • Now it's Kevin, It's they called me for four.

  • Move, tow them.

  • And then I joined the sports school called Coyote S in that day's with 12.

  • 13 very young age.

  • So until the age of 18 I I stayed at the town's oh, our club played in the second bonus leader in these days, Onda had a very bad first year.

  • Not me personally, but the club which we got relegated.

  • So we went down into the third leaks already with 18 19.

  • I had a a big decision to made to make in terms off.

  • Do I stay or maybe move?

  • Because, yeah, I was a talented player and there was a lot off eyes on me and it was already some offers.

  • So that was something.

  • Ah, yeah.

  • What?

  • What?

  • No.

  • In the normal way, I I really enjoyed my youth at my club.

  • But then off course, later, I switched the clubs you said that club started noticing you.

  • Kaiserslautern, of course, was one of those clubs.

  • How did that move come about?

  • I remember 18.

  • 16 Munich in that time was awesome for me, Even better by him clubs, because I was joining the under 21 team.

  • So there was a bit of focus on me, but I felt not ready.

  • You know, I felt not ready for professional football on dead level.

  • And so I said to myself, I stay another year playing in the thirdly, Yeah, tow.

  • Get this physical improvement.

  • And they said experience.

  • Or in the first team, even in the third league, which was a really important stay for me when I look back because I played the whole year on the first team, I could score.

  • I played in midfield, you know, offensive midfield before when I was 18 in the in, the last year of youth are played in at a sweeper and there's a totally different play, you know.

  • And so that was a really important year for me as scored 10 goals.

  • But we couldn't make the move again up to the second league and then went off course a new situation causes Louden was, uh, um showing interest.

  • And yeah, In that moment I felt ready because I had experience year for me.

  • Let's call it really important Young in a young age.

  • And so I made dead.

  • Move on.

  • What a decision!

  • You gotta chicest Loudon newly promoted Kaiserslautern first season in the Bundesliga and they win the title.

  • When you look back on everything you've achieved finals well.

  • Cup finals, European Championship finals, Champions League final, Winning bundles, Leaguers!

  • Where does that one rank?

  • Is that riot the top?

  • Yeah, I think so.

  • It was something unique we achieved, even if I was not so important.

  • Like maybe I was later for different clubs because I was still a young player and I was especially 1st 6 months substitute player.

  • So but I got my experience on my time on the page.

  • Even if it was not too long, I felt being totally part of the team and would be achieved.

  • The dynamic in the year was amazing.

  • With Auto as one of the most important German coaches in history, he, uh, put something together and created this atmosphere in the club around the club, which was something amazing because never released a member or stuff.

  • Even the players could believe that we could win the title.

  • There was a special year and yeah, I learned a lot because I played with so many experience players on the blame a J.

  • Because faults are public uca things was players.

  • They were Yeah, they were quite unique in that moment.

  • And what?

  • Oh, yeah.

  • I had a team combined with very young, talented players.

  • Marco Vij, Me, Some others, uh, there were were good mixed.

  • And yeah, that was something amazing.

  • So you have two seasons that causes started and you're still a young man.

  • A 22.

  • And when you make the move to buy labor Poussin, how did that move come about?

  • All there must have Bean.

  • You've just won.

  • The Bundesliga is a young time.

  • That must have been other clubs that are saying we want Michael Ballack as well.

  • So how did the lever cou someone come along and who else was involved?

  • You know, suddenly, after the second year, he finished fifth level Cousin Waas was showing interest, you know, And of course, for me it was and not a step because level cousin was one of the clubs who was really developing young players was the next step for me because causes loud on even after winning the first year.

  • The league was not on that level like other clubs already.

  • But that's was for me another step or another, uh, possibility to make the next step.

  • Onda.

  • Um, I didn't remember that a lot off other clubs expect, except by on Munich.

  • I remember they were also showing interest, but for me, also like I mentioned it before, it was always thinking, doing step by step.

  • And if I didn't feel ready for for a huge club or big name club I didn't made it was in the back of your mind by Munich.

  • Maybe not then, but one day.

  • Yeah.

  • I mean, I I grew up really simple.

  • And my parents always tell, told me, Uh, yeah, you You have to have a good feeling.

  • You know, you have to do that what you feel.

  • And in that moment, I felt this is the right move for me because it's after causes loud on, um behind Munich was would be a big step in.

  • And I saw this all this big players, you know, and I didn't feel 100% comfortable to make that huge step.

  • It doesn't mean I was not looking for a new challenge, but level crews already votes for me a big challenge.

  • And that's why I thought, Yeah, 22 in the young of 2122.

  • It would be the perfect club for me to make the next step.

  • You quite measured in what you say about when you made certain transfer.

  • Just using the face step by step buying Munich, then come calling.

  • I'm by now.

  • I'm sure that all of Europe's biggest clubs are looking at Michael Ballack and thinking we want him.

  • So who came calling on?

  • Why did you choose by Munich?

  • It has no secret are rare.

  • Madrid also wanted to sign me at that time 2002 even before the final.

  • Of course I mentioned it.

  • I had one of my best years, if not my best year, from the numbers from the point of the numbers and yeah, Real Madrid was also very, very interested, but Bayern Munich as well and I was, But knowing that 2006 the World Cup is in Germany thinking about what?

  • What is the best?

  • And of course, Real Madrid is something special.

  • But for me, Byron Munich as that German club also, and finally I don't know what what was the poor in the decision, why I made it.

  • I was listening to my, my, my my feeling like I did it before as well.

  • And I felt yeah, buying meaningful means to write address a CZ, the best German club on drama.

  • Dude was always something you can have in mind after because I was still young with 24 to do it.

  • Maybe later on.

  • So I decided for buying Munich with all these arguments, you know, for myself to make that step, and that's why it was family.

  • You don't strike me as a man who has regrets, Michael.

  • But when you look back on that, this part of you think maybe I could have gone, maybe I should have gone around Madrid.

  • That's always clubs, you know, in in history where you could play.

  • And but I'm so pleased with my career in the clubs I played for and I always felt really, really comfortable on guy.

  • Enjoy the time, which have played for especially in that moments for the club, so that I never regret that even even there was a that was the situation.

  • 2004 way didn't win the league upon unique.

  • And you are the club was not happy in general.

  • He's never happy when he doesn't win, you know, and especially then they have to make new decisions in the world.

  • I was not happy and so I had an on offer from from Barcelona 2000 for and it was really, really closed that that I go there.

  • But finally it was very close.

  • I was Ah, I was I was talking to the guys from Ram from from Barcelona and we agreed on any terms ex accept the fee for for the club.

  • So that was the last thing they had to solve for the club pastors to solve.

  • And they and they didn't come together.

  • I remember that in these days I went toe some arguments with Holiness about a lot of things in the club.

  • They didn't want well about team the strength off the team where we can improve things to actually, yeah, do better.

  • Not just in the league, but especially into on international wave because yeah, if you want to win the Champions League again after 2001 I mean, we had to improve the team but then that the season ends and and I had Ah, I remember I had a friendly match before the European Cup 2004 against Motta and we always did this too.

  • Friendly matches to prepare for the for the European Cup and I scored four goals in a very unimportant match against matter.

  • And suddenly by meaning Waas impressed from their own player again Because now, uh, yeah, I was so much more worth and they asked for so much more money, which was unrealistic in these days.

  • 50 plus 1,000,000 or even more, I don't know, But the move?

  • Yeah, we didn't come together or the club's didn't come together, so they actually decided to keep keep me and they didn't let me go.

  • But it was I accepted that you know, I accepted that even if we were different opinion Just a few weeks before Andi I carried on two more years.

  • We went twice the double with Bayern Munich, But off course things are changing as a professional football.

  • I'm professional, enoughto accept decisions.

  • And so I gave my best the next two years for the club until I I made the move to Chelsea Many years on.

  • When you look back there, is there a tinge of regret that you didn't call the new camp your home?

  • Of course, something's sometimes specially six months later, I was thinking about that, you know, because Barcelona had a great team, a fantastic team, that Savanah Lena from Andi has some amazing players there as well.

  • So I had these two opportunities 2000 to 2004 to join Spanish football, especially the two biggest clubs.

  • Ah, in that time And of course, if you look back, it would be interesting or may be interesting to know how things are went if I would do this.

  • But this is sometimes in life.

  • You make decisions and I repeat that I'm more than happy with my decisions.

  • I did, and things are like sometimes you can't make the decision because in that case, it was not my decision.

  • When the club stays No, you have to stay because you have a contract.

  • And I totally accept that because I signed four years.

  • And but sometimes the footballs things are going quick.

  • And so, of course, I was in my mind to have this new challenge in 2004 but it was not in come together or it didn't happen.

  • And so I never will regret something because it was like it worse when you left by.

  • And though it was on a free transfer, your contract had run down.

  • Was that your decision On what?

  • What what would buy in Munich thinking?

  • Because I'm relaying it to today's football.

  • And it's the one thing that A LL clubs want to avoid happening because they could have got massive money for you.

  • Yeah, of course there was something after in the year 2005 I was not happy because, you know, I had this thesis interview with Wilderness, and he gave me his word that we go different ways and I totally accepted.

  • But like I mentioned, I was professionally enoughto play well to give my best.

  • But also I had in mind.

  • What can I achieve with Bayern Munich?

  • And are they willing to improve that team like we really can attack the Champions League?

  • And we had this this argument, this argument when we disagree in certain points that was not out of the world one year later or a few months later.

  • So I still had a critically point on the team on Dhe unless they didn't invest that money to improve the team.

  • I was not.

  • I didn't see a real point to extend my contract.

  • So because 2000 after 2005 that's what they wanted to give me.

  • And they wanted to extend my contract and I asked him, I look, I wonder the league now.

  • It looked 2006 really good as well, 34 times in four years, three times winning the league or the double.

  • It's a great achievement, but international wise way didn't really have a chance because way didn't have that team toe really, really go out and say We are team to actually can win the Champions League and that was not the case and that's why I was looking for for something else and also I was 28 29 I really wanted to make this international experience which I didn't make 2000 to 2004.

  • Yeah, like things are in 2006 it was actually more or less the last, um, opportunity for me to do that.

  • Step on, DA.

  • Yeah.

  • Buy in Munich, of course, Was not happy that I was running out of the contact, But I see it in a different way.

  • I mean, as a player, if you signed for years, uh, I want to to give everything that four years and after it was a different a different time.

  • And, uh, that was the case blade with open cards.

  • I told them early enough that I decided myself.

  • I want to go a different way.

  • I want to take a new challenge in terms of in terms of Chelsea and that's how things happened.

  • Now I'm guessing if you've been under contract, I don't have any.

  • Europe's biggest clubs would have been after you.

  • You're now free.

  • So I'm guessing you probably couldn't count the number of clubs on two hands.

  • Could you?

  • Who are genuinely interested in you?

  • Who waas were Chelsea, the only Premier Li club as well at the time Who wanted you?

  • No, actually the one of the first woman United toh showing interest, But they also didn't have the best year.

  • I remember 2006.

  • I think they went out in the group stage in the arguments.

  • I just said because winning the league is one thing.

  • But for me, it was always a dream to win the Champions League and what team?

  • But what what team?

  • I really can attack this this trophy, you know, I really have a chance to win.

  • That trophy was not easy to decide because there's so many good clubs.

  • But like I mentioned men united in these days that were not as good as before.

  • Like Bayern Munich, Blackburn Munich 2000 1 2099 They had their best years.

  • They joined the final twice.

  • So they went out in the 1st 1st round and Chelsea?

  • Yeah, I was winning the league twice with Marino.

  • They invested in a lot of players and their head amazing score than for me when Chelsea came.

  • Yeah, I had to wage Yeah, these things And who was that?

  • United Amazing club, you know, what a huge history.

  • But Chelsea Yeah, also having huge ambitions.

  • I choose Chelsea and the package was really good.

  • I feel really comfortable, but that's why London also for me was also appoint an argument to join a great city.

  • You know, when you're in there in the age of 29 year old, you're already have family.

  • It's also really important for the family.

  • I also looked that they feel comfortable.

  • And I talked to my family in these days and yeah, we made a decision to go to London.

  • So I didn't get to the point where it was.

  • There's an offer from United.

  • There's an offer from Chelsea.

  • What am I gonna do it?

  • I think I give the sign quite early also to my agent, that I would prefer, Yeah, Chelsea from the beginning.

  • And if we can agree on the numbers on the circumstances off course, that would be my preference.

  • Can you recall how it happened, though with regard to who spoke to you?

  • Did you Did you speak to Josie?

  • Did you speak to Roman?

  • Not a Roman, I think Peter Kenyon.

  • And these days was it was big, big factor toe do the transfer.

  • But also I was always important for me to talk to the coach and to get a feeling for the coach.

  • Jose was it was a coach.

  • Of course, if you talk to him, you really gets yeah catched by by by his personality and by his ambitions and the way I can do another step.

  • You know, after buying meaning a big club, German Capital International picked