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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 20, 2007

Makelele reveals appearance deal with Grant

Chelsea veteran Claude Makelele will only play in the club's most important games after reaching an agreement with manager Avram Grant over his selection.

The France midfielder has been a regular feature in the Chelsea side since joining from Real Madrid four years ago in a £16.6million move.

However, Makelele has played just four Premier League games this season and the 34-year-old has admitted making a deal with Grant aimed at maintaining his fitness levels.

Makelele, contracted to Chelsea until 2009, said: 'I have an agreement with my club coach. He knows how I manage my games and we have a well stocked squad.

'He needs me in our very important matches, but he rotates the squad for the easier fixtures. That suits me fine. I can have a rest and it is perfect for me.'

Chelsea's next game in the Premier League is away to Derby on Saturday and Grant should have left-back Ashley Cole fit again for selection.

Captain John Terry, who has been training with the England squad this week, is targeting a return against Rosenborg in the Champions League next week.

Meanwhile, midfielder Michael Ballack's continued recovery from ankle problems is sufficient enough for him to raise hopes that he will be back in action before Christmas.

The Germany international has not played this season after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of the last campaign.

Ballack is now confident that he will be back playing in December after returning to training.

Ballack told Germany's state television channels ARD and ZDF: 'I am making excellent progress.

'I started training again last week and December is looking like a good time (for a return).

'I am just going to see how it goes from week to week, but won't set a date for when I would like to play again.'

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