Chelsea may be the only club who can achieve an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, but do not expect Michael Ballack to join in the tub-thumping of some of his team-mates who have talked about the feat as a real possibility. After all, the 31-year-old midfielder has been here before. "In four weeks, I lost the Bundesliga, the German Cup, the Champions League and the World Cup," he said of his experiences at Bayer Leverkusen six years ago. "It was an amazing 10 days. We lost the championship on the last day of the season. Three days later we lost the Cup final and then just four days after that we were beaten by Real Madrid at Hampden Park in the Champions League final."
That was before the Germany international went to the 2002 World Cup, reached the final, for which he was banned, and then had to watch as they lost to Brazil. He rates the collective disappointment as greater than the problems he has suffered during his time at Chelsea through an ankle injury which wrote off more than eight months – and prevented him from playing in last season's FA Cup final.
"It was the darkest period of my career," Ballack said of his annus horribilis, 2002. "We had the chance to make history and we won nothing. It was four times second. It's a memory that I don't want to think about and I really hope that will not happen to me and my team-mates at Chelsea."
Not that Ballack expects it to happen, and there are very few parallels between Leverkusen, the relatively-small Bundesliga club he played for prior to joining Bayern Munich, and the powerhouse of Chelsea. "We have strong players who already know what it takes to win trophies," Ballack said. "At Leverkusen it was all new to us and we were unlucky but also inexperienced. When you know what it takes to win a title it makes you stronger for the next time you compete. That is what we have at Chelsea and so I'm not worried that we will end the season without a trophy. It's a dream to win all four, I don't think any team has ever done it. It will be very difficult but we try in everything."Reuse content