Football: 'Special One' Mourinho fetes Ballack's farewell

LEIPZIG, Germany (AFP) - Newly-appointed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho - the self-styled 'Special One' - took time out to appear at former Germany captain Michael Ballack's final match of his career in Leipzig on Wednesday.

Ballack, 36, bowed out in a testimonial match - titled 'Ciao Capitano' in honour of his nickname - attended by 50,000 spectators.

Ballack, who was capped 98 times including the Euro 2008 final defeat by Spain, scored three times in the 4-3 win by his side 'Ballack's friends' against an invitational team.

"It is fantastic that after such a long season so many international stars (former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba was among them) came to play," purred Ballack.

"It has really been a super career despite some difficult moments," added Ballack, who won four Bundesliga titles (one with Kaiserslautern and three with Bayern Munich) and a Premier League title and FA Cup with Chelsea.

Mourinho, who brought Ballack to Chelsea in 2006, was full of praise for the attacking midfielder.

"He was a fantastic player for Chelsea and for Germany," said Mourinho.

"I wish him from the bottom of my heart all the happiness in the world in his retirement." German national coach Joachim Loew was also among the crowd even though the two of them had a troubled relationship.

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