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By ESPN Staff

AC Milan-bound Sheva praises Abramovich

Andriy Shevchenko left Chelsea on Monday with a final expression of gratitude towards Roman Abramovich for the 'help and encouragement' that got him through his nightmare spell in west London.

The Ukrainian passed a medical at AC Milan's Milanello training complex yesterday to put the finishing touch to his return to the club.

The striker arrived in Italy late on Sunday night after Chelsea agreed terms with the Serie A side on a deal to take Shevchenko back to Milan - the club he represented for seven seasons between 1999 and 2006.

Shevchenko, 31, endured a difficult two years in London following a big-money transfer from the Rossoneri, finding the net just nine times in two Premier League campaigns.

But he had nothing but warm praise for the Blues as he ended his disappointing spell.

'I would like to thank Chelsea Football Club - the fans, staff, players and management - for all the support you gave me during my time at the club,' he told www.chelseafc.com.

'I would also like to express my gratitude to Roman Abramovich for all his help and encouragement.

'It was unfortunate I suffered a number of injuries during my time here but I always gave my all, whatever the circumstances.

'I really have enjoyed playing in England and have made many friendships that will stay with me forever. I will always look back with fond memories of my time at this really great club. Thank you.'

Shevchenko's delight to be back in Milan has been shared by Rossoneri playing staff and directors alike.

Ronaldinho, Clarence Seedorf and Kakha Kaladze have all spoken of their glee at the move, while star player Kaka revealed today he was 'extra happy that Sheva has returned'.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani also expressed his joy at seeing the Ukrainian back among the squad, and insists his return was not solely due to club owner Silvio Berlusconi's close relationship with the player.

'This is a family and we're all happy,' he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

'It's not true that only Silvio Berlusconi insisted that Andriy return. I've put my weight behind the cause too and I'm happy that in the end we've succeeded in bringing him home.'

Shevchenko is set to train individually before joining up with the rest of the squad when they return from a friendly in Spain.

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