Ballack hangs up his boots
Ballack, who returned to Bayer Leverkusen in 2010 but was left without a contract after last season, had been linked with a possible move to the United States or Australia.
"At the age of 36 I can look back at a long and wonderful time in professional football which I did not dare dream of as a child," he said in a brief statement. "It was a privilege to have worked with top coaches and fantastic team-mates. Obviously I will miss playing in front of 80,000 people or scoring a goal."
A strong physical presence in midfield with a powerful shot, Ballack, who won 98 caps for Germany, got his breakthrough at Kaiserslautern and in 1998 helped them win the Bundesliga title, the first promoted team to do so.
A three-year spell at Bayer Leverkusen ended in 2002 with the team imploding and narrowly failing to win the Bundesliga.