Michael Ballack says he is still enjoying life in England and looking forward to Germany's World Cup qualifier against Russia in Moscow next month.
Living in London
The 33-year-old told FIFA.com London “has a lot to offer, and not just in footballing terms. Both culturally and in culinary terms you feel really at home in the English capital. The city's buzzing, and my family and I are very happy there.”
With three goals to his name already the Chelsea midfielder appears to be reaping the benefits of a long summer break.
“I've just had the longest summer break of my professional career. Usually you only get two weeks, but this time I had five weeks off, which was very important for me in terms of rest and recuperation.”
Ballack could even afford to break a toe and still claim a place in a team which is currently riding high at the top of the English Premier League. Now he and his Chelsea team-mates face rivals Liverpool before the World Cup qualifiers conclude in October.
World Cup showdown against Russia
The game takes place on an artificial pitch favoured by a strong and skilful home side which is likely to include Arsenal’s Andrei Arshavin. With the difference between the two sides down to one point courtesy of a 2 – 1 win for the Germans twelve months ago, Ballack knows it won’t be easy.
“We can't let the artificial pitch be an excuse for us - we'll just have to adapt to the conditions. Russia have got a strong team and they have got results in the past, so we will have to be at our very best if we are to get something out of our trip to Moscow. We're confident that we will qualify directly for the World Cup, because we're totally motivated for this match, well prepared and we know that we can get the right result.”
FIFA World Rankings
Germany are currently fourth, level with Italy, in the rankings. How does the German captain think his team compares with the rest of the world?
“The rankings are just the snapshot of a particular moment. Teams like The Netherlands and Spain have certainly strung some great results together, but we have always proved at big tournaments that we are focused on the job and playing at our peak, and that is why our place towards the top of the rankings is totally justified.”