German superstar Michael Ballack has been linked repeatedly with a move to MLS outfit Montreal Impact but at the moment, he looks way too comfortable in his role as a Euro 2012 analyst for ESPN.
Ballack recently concluded his second stint with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen after making 35 appearances for them since moving back from Chelsea in 2010.
While the midfielder has not yet decided where he will next play his club football, Germany national team manager Joachim Low has made it clear that he will probably never recall the 35-year old to play competitively again.
Many in Ballack’s position would have been dejected to be excluded from all the Euro 2012 action in such a bitter way. The former Chelsea star is only two caps shy of reaching 100 appearances for his nation and of all times, this is when he has to remain idle.
However, given his spirited nature, Ballack unsurprisingly chose to remain in touch with the Euros by chiming in on all the action as an analyst. And not only is the man chiming in regularly, but he has also been truly entertaining.
From polished English language skills to dark football humor to an ever-present ability to disagree with his colleagues, Ballack seems to be a perfect fit to carry on in this position after he hangs up his playing boots.
In the United States, all the Euro 2012 action is dissected typically on ESPN by former U.S. internationals such as Alexi Lalas, Taylor Twellman, and Kasey Keller.
Hence, Ballack’s presence among these individuals is refreshing as it adds the much-needed European perspective to a tournament that is actually all about European football.
Furthermore, as mentioned before, the German brings strong viewpoints to the table and never hesitates to offer disagreements with anyone.
It has been particularly entertaining to watch Ballack debate with Lalas – who is known to air strong views of his own every now and then.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing arguments between the two came after England’s 1-1 draw with France; Lalas aggressively praised the Lions’ ability to grind out a point while Ballack slammed English players for lacking the winning energy.
Even when the Three Lions came from 2-1 down to defeat Sweden and claim all three points on Friday, Ballack – unlike his co-workers – was comfortable attributing the result more to the Swedes’ defensive woes than England’s attacking potential.
Given that today’s decisive Group D match day will end with a verdict on the quarterfinal status of all involved teams, it will be interesting to see how the debate culminates in the ESPN studios.