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Brewin: Reds crash again at Palace

The Match about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 20, 2006

Ballack wants to end career at Stamford Bridge

Michael Ballack expects to finish his career at Chelsea.

Ballack, 29, completed his free transfer from Bayern Munich to Stamford Bridge this week before flying back to Germany to prepare for the World Cup.

He has signed a three-year deal with the Premiership champions, reported to be worth £130,000-a-week, and says he wants it to be his final move.

Ballack said: 'I hope this will be my last club. I'd like to finish my career here. I'm 29 now and I have a three-year contract initially.

'I hope things work out well and that we're successful in the next three years and the possibility will exist to extend that contract.

'You could say that is my vision at the moment, to end my career at Chelsea.'

The Germany captain makes no secret of the fact that he has come to west London in a bid to win the Champions League.

But he admits even Roman Abramovich's billions are not enough to guarantee the team can triumph in the competition won by Barcelona last week.

Ballack said: 'The Champions League is my aim but there are no guarantees of winning anything.

'You can have as many great players as you want but there are no guarantees.

'Perfect conditions exist at Chelsea but I was a Champions League runner-up at Bayer Leverkusen when I moved to Bayern Munich to join a fantastic side, with Ze Roberto and Sebastian Deisler at the top of his game.

'Somebody said it was the German team of the century but we went out in the first round.'

Ballack was happy to end the months of speculation about his future before the World Cup in his homeland.

Germany were hammered 4-1 by Italy in March but there is always pressure on the team ahead of a World Cup, especially when it is on home soil.

Ballack said: 'There's always great expectation in Germany ahead of big tournaments. It is a traditional thing because of the success we've had.

'But this time we are a young team and there are a number of players not playing regularly for their club sides like Robert Huth.

'This is not a situation Brazil or England find themselves in.

'It was perhaps good that we lost to Italy because it dampened down the expectations.

'You can compare this with before the 2002 World Cup.'

England and Germany could meet in the second round of the competition and the Chelsea new-boy expects Sven-Goran Eriksson's team to be strong.

Ballack said: 'Germany always has great respect for England, comparable with Brazil, Italy and Argentina.

'The strengths of the English midfield are well known but, given that, the people of Germany would always look forward to England playing Germany.

'It is always a big game. It is a duel and we will look forward to renewing that duel.'