Germans slam 'brutal' Boateng as Ballack misses World Cup
GERMANY have reacted with fury at what they regard as the "brutal" challenge from Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng that has ruled Michael Ballack out of the World Cup.
Ballack, the German captain, has suggested that Boateng had targeted his leg rather than the ball with a tackle that came soon after a scuffle between the two midfielders during Saturday's FA Cup final.
"Challenges can happen but it looks like he goes for the leg," said Ballack, who had a scan yesterday which revealed a ruptured ankle ligament. "I have seen it on TV and to say it was not on purpose means you have to be a friend of Boateng. I have to accept it. I am angry, clearly."
There appears to have been history between the players, with Boateng's father, Prince, describing an incident involving Ballack and his son in 2006.
"Kevin's the whipping boy once again," he told a German newspaper.
"In 2006, Kevin had just scored his first goal for Hertha. Then they played against Bayern Munich. He had an argument with Ballack, who said 'you've scored one goal and you think you are the best'. Kevin has never forgotten that.
"Unfortunately, Kevin isn't very diplomatic. But I'm sure he didn't mean to injure him."
German newspaper Bild yesterday called the foul a "revenge attack", in reference to Boateng's decision to swap allegiances recently and drop his German nationality in favour of playing international football for Ghana.
Boateng, who was born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father and a German mother, had represented Germany at U-21 level but the offer of potentially competing at the World Cup for Ghana proved to be too tempting.
The two countries meet in Group D of the World Cup on June 23. To further complicate the situation, Boateng's brother, Jerome, who will join Manchester City from Hamburg this summer, could feature for Germany.
There was more bad news for German football fans yesterday when Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery was ruled out of the Champions League final on Saturday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed his appeal against a three-match suspension imposed by UEFA following his sending-off in the semi-final first leg against Lyon. (© Daily Telegraph, London)