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May, 12, 2006

'I want to leave AC Milan', confirms Shevchenko

AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko has confirmed he wants to leave the Italian club this summer.

The Ukraine international called a press conference to read a prepared statement confirming reports he may leave the San Siro after seven years.

'I want to leave,' he said. 'I cannot hide my wish any longer from the fans. I have spoken to the president (Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi). No decision has been taken yet.

'This has nothing to do with money. It is a family issue. Once I have made a decision I will call another press conference,' added the 29-year-old.

Shevchenko has long been a target of Chelsea but Milan have rebuffed their approaches in the past. Until now, he has insisted he wanted to remain with the Rossoneri.

Earlier today, the player's agent, Oscar Domino, admitted a move was possible.

When asked if Shevchenko would move to Chelsea in the summer, Damiani said: 'Everything has yet to be decided. We don't know yet. Everything has to be discussed.

'It could be that he stays at Milan or that he goes.'

Berlusconi has also added to the speculation with comments carried by the website of Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Milan owner is reported to have said to a child who had told him Shevchenko is his favourite player: 'Do you know that Shevchenko wants to leave? He wants to go to England.'

Shevchenko has helped second-placed Milan stay in the race for the Scudetto this season but he has reportedly been at odds with his coach, Carlo Ancelotti, on different occasions.

Shevchenko, his club's top scorer with 19 goals in 28 league appearances and another nine Champions League strikes, will not play again in Serie A this season after picking up a knee injury at Parma last week.

After the Parma match, Shevchenko and his wife met with Berlusconi, although the subject of their discussions is unknown.

Milan signed Shevchenko to an extension last year, which runs until June 2009, after a flurry of speculation that Chelsea were about to make the club a bumper offer.

Shevchenko, who will captain Ukraine at the World Cup this summer in Germany, turns 30 in September.

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