German clubs vie to get Ballack

German Football
By German Football June 10, 2010 22:42

German clubs vie to get Ballack

Image: Xinhua/Reuters Photo

As soon as the news broke on Wednesday that Ballack, 33, would not get a new contract at Premier League champions Chelsea, the rumour mill went into overdrive.

A return to Jose Mourinho, who brought him to Chelsea, this time at Real Madrid? Back to Felix Magath, now at Schalke, under whom Ballack played at Bayern Munich until 2006? Wolfsburg, who are backed by VW and have an English coach in Steve McLaren?

Ballack himself would have preferred a new deal at Chelsea, but told British paper The Times that owner Roman Abramovich was against it.

“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 … The decision was down to Roman,” said Ballack.

A Times blog by Matt Hughes named the Ballack issue “baffling” and said that his absence will hurt the London club.

“He was able to adapt his game to fit in with those around him, most notably Frank Lampard. This selflessness enabled Lampard to continue scoring 20-goals-a-season whilst Ballack was content to fulfil a more defensive role, showcasing his strength in the tackle and ability to get play moving forward quickly,” said Hughes.

“Ironically it is those precise qualities which Carlo Ancelotti needs to add to his squad this summer, which makes the release of Ballack all the more extraordinary.”

Ballack, who misses the World Cup because of an ankle injury, told The Times that he wants to play on until Euro 2012 which will be his last chance to win a major international trophy.

“I want to play for at least two more years at the highest level so I can play for Germany at the European championship,” he said.

Ballack said, “I wants to stay in Europe. I’m a proud German who always enjoyed living there, so I have some options back home.”

That could be bad news for Mourinho (if he really wants him) and good news for the Bundesliga.

Germany’s Bild suggested that Ballack was ready to take a pay cut which could make the Schalke option interesting as Felix Magath’s club is cash-strapped. Ballack would play Champions League football there.

Werder Bremen swiftly dismissed interest while champions Munich and SV Hamburg should have no use for him. But he has been linked with his former club Bayer Leverkusen, and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday spoke of “a credible trace” to Wolfsburg.

Ballack must not only now find a club that suits his ambitions, he also needs to do well there in order to return into the Germany team which could be difficult if the young side shines at the World Cup.

“Injured Ballack at career crossroads at age 33: His return into Germany team has become more unlikely after the Chelsea exit,” said the website of German news magazine Focus.

German Football
By German Football June 10, 2010 22:42
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