Ballack blames Abramovich for Chelsea exit
Michael Ballack has confirmed it was Roman Abramovich and not Carlo Ancelotti who ended his Chelsea career and the German midfielder says he is not yet ready to wind down his career in the USA or Dubai.
Chelsea confirmed on Wednesday that Ballack, Joe Cole and Juliano Belletti had all been released by the club, and the decision to cut the Germany international loose came as a surprise given he started 34 games as the Blues secured the domestic Double under Carlo Ancelotti.
It is reported that the Italian wanted to retain Ballack but was overruled by Abramovich, who is keen to reduce the playing age of the Stamford Bridge squad. Ballack harbours no ill-feeling towards Chelsea though, even if his first priority was to sign a new contract.
"It's unfortunate we couldn't come together, but I have to put it behind me," Ballack said in The Times. "I've known for a while that the negotiations had stopped and it's time to move on. I have to find a new club and carry on with my career.
"Chelsea was always my first choice as I had four great years at the club and enjoyed every minute, but it was not to be. It's still my first choice, even now, but it was not up to me. The decision was down to Roman.
"We [Ancelotti and Ballack] have a great relationship and I know he respected me as a player. I loved the club. They always made me feel welcome and there was a special atmosphere in the team. We won three FA Cups and the Premier League in four years, but winning the Double this season was unbelievable as it was a real piece of history.
"Chelsea do not have the history of Liverpool or Manchester United but are growing as a club. I wish them well for the future."
It is reported that Ballack could seek financially-lucrative employment in the Middle East or join the exodus of aging players to MLS, but with Euro 2012 in his sights, the midfielder has suggested that a return to Germany, where he previously represented Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Kaiserslautern and Chemnitz, is likely.
"To end my career like this is not an option," Ballack said. "I want to play for at least two more years at the highest level so I can play for Germany at the European Championship.
"I've played in three Euros and two World Cups so know how special they are and can't end like this. I'm even more determined to carry on since I've been injured and the motivation is growing inside me every single day.
"I'm not yet ready to 'retire' by going to the United States or Dubai and want to stay in Europe. I'm a proud German who always enjoyed living there, so have some options back home."
However, both Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen have ruled out moves for Ballack on financial grounds.
Bremen general manager Klaus Allofs told Kicker: "Although it would be nice. it is an illusion.''
Bayer official Wolfgang Holzhauser said: "The relationship between Bayer and Michael Ballack was always special and we were an important step in his career. A question is whether we could afford such a move now. We have not had any talks on the issue as yet but I must say I have my doubts.''