Ballack can see career ending at Chelsea

October 9, 2006

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack insists he could end his career at Stamford Bridge.

The Germany captain has so far made only three Premiership appearances for Jose Mourinho's side but he aims to make his stay with the club a long one.

The 30-year-old has not yet reached his best form for the club but asked the Chelsea faithful to be patient as he adapts to football in England.

'I am 30 now and Chelsea could be the last club I will play for,' he said.

'My family and I really want to feel at home here. I like the atmosphere here, the speed of the game and the fact it seems like there is real competition to win the Premier League every year.

'English football fans live for football - they identify themselves most with football.

'For a player, that's great to see - and I think that's why they give absolutely everything in a game in this country.

'In Germany we follow the English game very closely and now I am here, I am just like the fans. I live for football.

'In this environment I know I can show my qualities. As a team we are getting better but we need time too.

'Excellent individuals have to learn how to play well as a team like any other players.'

Midfielder Lassana Diarra, meanwhile, maintains he still wants a future at Chelsea.

The France Under-21 international has found it hard to break into the first team this season even though he was being groomed as the natural successor to veteran Claude Makelele.

Ballack's arrival from Bayern Munich in the summer has pushed Diarra further down the pecking order but he remains confident of getting his chance.

Diarra told France Football: 'I am learning a lot at Chelsea, especially on a technical level by training every day with such players, then in the under-21 national team you realise it is not as quick.

'I am also learning about pressure. That is what I experience every day in England.

'When I hear people compare me to Claude Makelele, it is flattering of course, but I am cautious.

'Obviously I would love to have a similar career to him. But that has not been my main concern so far. I am staying patient and working hard.'