Ballack picked up an ankle injury in the FA Cup final after being fouled by Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng and has been told he will not be able to play again for at least two months. That diagnosis ruled him out of the FIFA World Cup, but it will not bring his international career to an end at the age of 33.
"I won't let my international career come to an end because of a foul like this," he said. "I never said that I would retire after the World Cup. I want to continue playing at the highest level and I will consider things in calm over the next few weeks."
Ballack's future for Chelsea should also be resolved in the next few weeks and he is optimistic that a new deal will be reached with the Premier League club. "Chelsea are absolutely my first option," he told Germany's Bild newspaper. "We are in contact with the club. The coach first of all wants to discuss things internally and then he will approach the players in a week."
First, Ballack must somehow come to terms with the fact he will miss what would probably be his last chance to become world champion for Germany due to a reckless foul. "I gave everything for the goal of South Africa and now the World Cup has been taken away from me in a brutal way," he said. "It is bitter to be hacked down in such a way in the last game of the season. It hurts."
While Ballack considers his own future, the national team coach Joachim Low is pondering not only who should take Ballack's place in his team, but also who should wear the captain's armband. Ballack, who has flown to Germany's training camp in Sicily "to be part of the family" and "to help me come to terms with this blow quicker", had a few words of advice for the coach.
"Schweini [Bastian Schweinsteiger] has got to do it now and take on more responsibility," he said. "He is self-confident and has the class. I don't see anybody else who shows such a presence and sets the tone like him.
"As for the captain, I don't want to add to the speculation - it is hard enough for the coach. There are (Philipp) Lahm, Schweini and (Miroslav) Klose. Miro has had an unfortunate season, but he has a high standing in the national team. His experience is important. And, being captain could give him a boost."