Berlin: Ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack has revealed his unresolved grudge towards national coach Joachim Loew and current skipper Philipp Lahm for his treatment at the 2010 World Cup.
Lahm is set to lead Germany with Loew as coach at Euro 2012, to be co-hosted by the Ukraine and Poland in June, but Ballack admits he still harbours bitterness towards the pair for events at the last World Cup.
Leverkusen's Ballack made the last of his 98 appearances for Germany in March 2010 before an ankle injury while playing for former club Chelsea that May ruled him out of South Africa 2010.
In his absence, Germany finished third and Bayern Munich star Lahm was promoted to captain, but having visited the squad during the South African tournament, Ballack said he feels he was treated unfairly by the pair.
On the day Ballack left South Africa to return to Germany, Lahm made comments saying he wanted to be made permanent captain and Ballack feels Lahm would not have made the remarks unless he was backed by Loew.
"I wanted to be there in 2010, and on the same day I left, there was an interview with Philipp Lahm (when he said he wanted to remain captain)," Ballack told German Sky Sports.
"He is an intelligent lad and it's not easy to give an interview like that, you have to double check with the coach to lean so far out of the window.
"That is what my instincts tell me."
Ballack cut short his trip to South Africa and said he felt ostracised by the new captain.
"I was captain and I know how to behave in a group," said Ballack.
"Then Philipp was captain and this situation was weird for me.
"I have not talked to him about the situation, some things are best left alone."
Ballack has said he can imagine reconciling his differences with Loew in order to "talk and shake hands", but his bitterness is clear.
"It has nothing to do with pride," he said.
"If you play with your cards on the table, I would be the last person there who couldn't help find a solution.
"But many things have happened which weren't correct."
Having been told by Loew last year that his international future is over, Ballack rejected the offer to make his final appearance for Germany in a friendly against Brazil in August 2011 as part of a farewell gesture.
"The fact that I rejected the friendly match is only logical, because I had spent the previous 11 months not knowing where I stood," he said.
"Many things happened which were not correct and, therefore, you should understand my reaction."
Ballack's fall from grace in 2010 came two years after he went head-to-head with Loew over the way the coach handled his senior players.
At the time, in October 2008, Ballack was Germany captain and was part of the successful Chelsea team which had reached the Champions League final.
Loew eventually had a clear-the-air meeting with his captain in Frankfurt after which Ballack apologised in a statement.
Ballack's Leverkusen contract expires in June and the 35-year-old is rumoured to be set to play out his career for Red Bull New York in the north American Major Soccer League.
"It could possibly go in that direction," he said when asked about the MSL.