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Aug, 17, 2010

Ballack to confront Lahm over captaincy claims

Michael Ballack has told Soccernet he is planning to have words with Philipp Lahm regarding the dispute over the German captaincy, and fully expects to have the armband when Joachim Low's side begin their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

• Ballack interview in full
• Low delays captaincy decision

An ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup final in May prevented Ballack from participating in the World Cup finals in South Africa and Bayern Munich defender Lahm was handed the honour of captaining the country in his absence, helping a young Germany side impress when finishing in third place.

Prior to their semi-final defeat at the hands of Spain, Lahm sparked controversy when saying to Bild: "It's obvious that I'd like to keep the captain's armband. The job gives me a great deal of enjoyment. Why should I then give it up by choice?"

Ballack, who had been in South Africa supporting the side, departed the Germany camp when Lahm made his statement, prompting speculation that he was annoyed by the comments. However, that was denied by team manager Oliver Bierhoff, who said Ballack had merely left to undergo more treatment on his injury.

The midfielder admits he was unimpressed by Lahm's interview and will seek out his colleague for talks when the German squad is next assembled for their opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Belgium on September 3. It is a game that Ballack expects to be captain for.

"For me, the matter is clear," Ballack told Soccernet. "I'm the captain of Germany and intend to take on the role again when I'm fit. I can't wait to lead Germany into the Euro 2012 qualifiers and make a success of it. I believe in myself as the captain and think I've the personality to do it.

"Philipp's remarks were not warranted, even though the timing of his remarks was unfortunate because I was out injured and could not mount my own defence.

"Still, players can't tell the coach where to pick them and the same applies to the captaincy. You have to respect the hierarchy and when we next meet up, I will talk the matter over with Philipp."

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