Ballack rejects fitness problems talk

9th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 January 2004, HAMBURG - Germany playmaker Michael Ballack has dismissed news reports that he has to observe a special diet because of bad blood levels. "I can eat and drink whatever I want to," said the Bayern Munich star Ballack. "Everything is fine. There is neither a diet plan nor anything else. I have not seen a doctor lately or made a blood test," he added. Ballack's statement comes in the wake of a report by the Bild daily from the same day that the 27-year-old had bad blood levels, was told to eat

9 January 2004

HAMBURG - Germany playmaker Michael Ballack has dismissed news reports that he has to observe a special diet because of bad blood levels.

"I can eat and drink whatever I want to," said the Bayern Munich star Ballack.

"Everything is fine. There is neither a diet plan nor anything else. I have not seen a doctor lately or made a blood test," he added.

Ballack's statement comes in the wake of a report by the Bild daily from the same day that the 27-year-old had bad blood levels, was told to eat no more meat and even faced gout if his condition deteriorated further.

In an interview with Kicker sports magazine, Ballack dismissed speculation about his general lack of fitness, and vowed that his team Bayern Munich will attack the frontrunners Werder Bremen once the Bundesliga resumes at the end of the month.

"As far as I am concerned there was never a (fitness) debate. It is common practice that players are fielded although they are not 100 percent."

"If a player does this for the team there should be no criticism afterwards. I say it once again: I was hardly injured during the first half of the season. I played all club games and national team games until the end of the year (2003)," he said.

Ballack was last year criticised by team officials for not playing at his best. There were also concerns he did not have the leadership qualities everyone expected from him.

Ballack admitted that he had not played at his top level so far this season, but said that Munich's results should not be measured by his performance alone.

"The most important thing is that Munich are still playing in all three events (Bundesliga, German cup and Champions League)," said Ballack, adding that the national team had also reached its goal of qualifying directly for Euro 2004.

Ballack admitted that given its autumn form Munich stood only a "10 per cent chance" of beating mighty Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16, but he expressed his optimism that the Bundesliga champions will do much better when the action resumes on 31 January.

"If we play up to our potential then the chances (of beating Madrid) are much greater ... We have a lot of room for improvement. And our rivals are aware of that," he said.

DPA
Subject: German news

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