Blues block Ballack talks
English Premier League leaders Chelsea have refused to allow Michael Ballack to travel to Germany to meet coach Joachim Loew for crisis talks which could determine his international future.
The London club's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said that with Ballack still recovering from surgery on his feet, the player will stay in England to continue his fight for fitness.
"Ballack plays for Chelsea. If Loew wants to talk to Ballack I invite the coach to come here and stay with us for one or two days and talk to him," said Scolari.
"But it's impossible for Ballack to travel now. He is in recovery and is with the doctors. It is not good for Ballack or the Germans."
The German football federation (DFB) confirmed that Chelsea had told them of their decision.
"We have a received a fax from Chelsea informing us that the club will not allow Ballack to go to Germany for health reasons," DFB spokesman Harald Stenger told the SID news agency.
Loew wants to meet Ballack after the Germany skipper claimed the coach didn't show enough respect and loyalty to his senior players.
Earlier Friday, Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann told Ballack to apologise for his damning criticism of Loew.
"The situation is very simple. Michael must apologise for his comments on the coach and the players," Klinsmann said.
Loew had demanded that Ballack return to Germany to explain his outburst, with both men speaking to each other on the phone Thursday evening.
"What will become of Michael is 'Jogi's' business. He is the boss, he decides for himself," said Klinsmann, who took Germany to the World Cup semifinals in 2006.
Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus urged Loew to punish Ballack, saying that he had breached the team's code of conduct.
"Every discussion between a senior player and the coach should happen behind locked doors. But Ballack does not seem to adhere to a code of conduct anymore."
Matthaus added: "He runs everything past the media. The trust in him has been lost."
The incident began on Tuesday after Ballack told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that: "Experienced national players deserve at least some respect and loyalty.
"There was a group of experienced players in that squad like Torsten Frings, Miroslav Klose and me whose achievements have suddenly been questioned and we find ourselves under attack," added Ballack.