Not long ago on 17th October, Michael Ballack was caught speeding in Spain. He was clocked travelling at 131mph (211kph) whilst the speed limit on that particular stretch of highway, near Trujillo, was 75mph (120kph). At yesterday’s court hearing, where the ex-Chelsea and Bayern Munich star was represented by his lawyer, Jesús Gallego Rol, it was requested that the £8,000 fine should be reduced to £800. Rol requested leniency as his client – the recipient of 98 German caps – currently does not have an income.
“Just because he is a famous footballer doesn’t mean he has any money coming in,” said Rol, who also pointed out, in his client’s defence, that there are no speed limits on Germany’s autobahns. This is true, but then it is also worth noting that an advisory speed limit of 81mph (130kph) does exist on the autobahn. Plus you would hope that Ballack can read street and highway signs. Furthermore, however absurd this rationale is in his world, it is not outrageous for him to consider that different rules and regulations may exist outside of Germany.
At the peak of his earning powers, Ballack’s Chelsea contract (following a Bosman free transfer from Bayern Munich) was worth, reportedly, over £6m ($9-10m) per year when he signed for the Londoners in 2006. In light of this, his lawyer’s laughable and limp excuse guarantees the German a place amongst the all-time sporting, verbal, howlers joining the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis. The former excused his side’s first half performance against Southampton, where they came into the dressing room 3-0 down at half-time, on the basis that their third kit (a fetching grey number) possessed mystical powers ensuing that his team became invisible from each other on the pitch. They ditched the kit during the interval and promptly conceded another three in the second half. The latter attributed a positive test for testosterone on whiskey consumption. His excuse triggered an abundance of mockery in the sporting world with Jeremiah Weed (the bourbon manufacturer) insisting that Landis should apologise to the “world of whiskey”. Landis swiftly backtracked, “The idea was not mine and the dehydration was a theory from the lawyers I hired in Spain to represent me”.
There’s a common theme here…
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