Germany legend Michael Ballack is expecting big rivalries when a host of international football idols arrive in London for the first Star Sixes tournament this summer.
Ballack, who played 98 times for Die Mannschaft with an impressive return of 42 goals, is determined to be fit and ready for his country when the tournament kicks off at The O2 in July.
With nations such as England, France, Italy, Spain and Brazil also taking part in the 12-team tournament, all with an array of iconic names from recent past, the incentive of lifting the inaugural title will push players to be at their very best.
“It’s not normal that we get the chance to play after our career in a format like this,” said Ballack, who spent four seasons in London with Chelsea, winning the Premier League and three FA Cups.
“That’s why a lot of players want to be involved and are looking forward to it.”
The 40-year-old midfielder also had spells in Germany with Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich during an illustrious career at the very top of the game.
Ballack played on the biggest stage in European Championship and Champions League Finals, so knows what is required to compete against the very best.
“We are preparing ourselves because it is not something we are used to anymore day in, day out,” he added.
“That physical work we are not doing anymore, we can’t reach the level we used to be. But this tournament pushes us a bit more, coming back to training and being competitive.
“When you see who is playing, there will be a rivalry. I’ve seen some of the players and they are still in good shape and looking good – as Germany, we have to be prepared.”
Germany will be among the 12 nations competing at the four-day Star Sixes tournament at The O2 in London from 13 to 16 July 2017.
International legends including Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Robert Pirès (France), Carles Puyol (Spain), Deco (Portugal), Steven Gerrard (England), Dominic Matteo (Scotland) and Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria) will also be entertaining the fans in the first-ever Star Sixes tournament.