Ballack's captaincy role under threat

The Germany coach Joachim Low and his captain Michael Ballack head for crisis meeting.

Joachim Low, right, has called for a meeting with his captain Michael Ballack, left, after comments the player made about his national coach.
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BERLIN // The Germany coach Joachim Low has summoned Michael Ballack and hinted strongly that his future as the captain was under threat. The crisis meeting has come about after Ballack had criticised Low in a newspaper interview. Low said that he would wait to speak to Ballack in person before taking any action, after the Chelsea player made what Low called "unacceptable" comments calling for the senior players to be shown more respect.

"I will tell Michael that I'm extremely disappointed about the route he has chosen to take, and that his comments are unacceptable," Low said. "I will insist on the meeting. My decision on everything else will depend on how that conversation goes." Ballack, speaking in an interview with FAZ newspaper, was critical of the coach's handling of selection issues in the squad after his midfield colleague Torsten Frings was dropped for the last two World Cup qualifiers.

"If you don't want someone any more you should say so openly," Ballack said. "Respect and loyalty are the least you can expect as an experienced national team player," added Ballack, who said he hoped Frings would decide to prolong his international career. *Reuters