Michael Ballack was born September 26th 1976 in Gorlitz, Saxony, Germany. He started his football career aged just seven encouraged by his parents, Michael's father himself had been a footballer playing in the German second division.
Michael's youth club was Chemnitzer FC with whom he also started his first professional fixture on August 4th 1995, a game in Bundesliga 2 versus VfB Leipzig. By the 26 of March 1996 Ballack had made his debut in a German shirt for the Under-21 team. Impressive performances as an ever present in his second season at Chemnitzer meant he was signed to top flight new arrivals Kaiserslautern in 1997. Whilst at Kaiserslautern Michael Ballack got his first Bundesliga game in a a season that saw his team win the German league title (quite a suprise as they were newly promoted). The following year Ballack made 30 appearances and his team reached the quarter finals of the biggest club stage in Europe the UEFA Champions League. He gained his first full cap in July 1999 and moved onto Bayer Leverkusen that Summer.
Bayer saw Ballack make his first real impressions in the game, he had free reign to run the show in midfield and also showed up in the box to score, netting 36 times whilst at the club. His time at the club had a sad ending in 2002, his own goal cost Leverkusen the league title in the last game of the season and they also lost the Champions League Final and the German Cup Final and he was a runnerup in the World Cup Final. For 12.9 million Euros Ballack joined Bayern Munich that Summer taking up more of a defensive midfield position for them. But still during his four years in Munich he won three Bundesliga and German Cup doubles and in 135 games scored 47 goals.
German player of the year in 2002, 2003 and 2005, Ballack was named German national captain in 2004. He has always worn the number 13 shirt for each team he has played for and internationally for Germany. May 15th 2006 saw Ballack agree to join Chelsea on a Bosman transfer.