Germany coach Joachim Loew has dropped yet another clear hint that Michael Ballack has no future in the national side and says he has told his former captain where he stands.
Ballack, 34, has not played for Germany since March 2010 after suffering back-to-back injuries last year.
With Germany top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group, Loew has repeatedly said he will not select Ballack again for the national side until his former captain is regularly impressing in the Bundesliga.
A crop of talented midfielders like Dortmund's Mario Goetze, Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger and Real Madrid's Sami Khedira have forced their way into the side with consistent form while Ballack has been far from impressive.
He has struggled to win a place in the Bayer Leverkusen team this season and in his absence Germany finished third at the 2010 World Cup with their young side using their midfield pace to play some attractive football.
"As a coach, my duty is to reflect on what our selections might look like in one, two or three years time, in addition to guaranteeing immediate success," Loew told the weekly German magazine Focus, set to be published here on Monday.
"Michael knows what I think of his situation."
Ballack has been left out of the squad to face Uruguay in a friendly at the end of May, as well as Euro 2012 qualifiers against Austria and Azerbaijan in early June.
Loew says he met Ballack in March, without revealing the details of the conversation, but pundits and the press here seem to think the ex-Chelsea star will win his 99th - and final - cap in the friendly with Brazil in August.
After suffering an ankle injury in May 2010, Ballack picked up a knee injury in September after only three games back and has only played 17 league games this season.