Germany captain Michael Ballack’s departure from Stamford Bridge was not the Chelsea manager’s decision.
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Michael Ballack has told The Independent that the Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, did not agree with the club’s decision to release him last summer, and the Italian was surprised when it happened.
Ballack accepted the decision taken by the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, to overhaul the club’s playing staff at the end of last season, a move which also saw Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho, Juliano Belletti and Deco leave in a cost-cutting measure that is estimated to have trimmed £20m from the annual wage bill.
But he has revealed that Ancelotti was not in agreement with Abramovich over the clear-out, which has left Chelsea short of cover now that John Terry, Frank Lampard and Alex are all sidelined with serious injuries. Ballack claims Ancelotti had wanted him to stay. He said: “I had the feeling that when we spoke about it that he wanted to keep me but it became different. And that was the situation.”
Chelsea announced the decision in early June, and days later Ballack, who was on holiday in America, met Ancelotti for lunch in Miami. The midfielder refused to reveal what was said but admitted that the manager had been taken by surprise by the club’s action.
“We had lunch together. That was the time when the club told me that we would not sign a new contract,” Ballack said. “Yeah, we spoke about this and I had the feeling that he was a little bit surprised but in the end, that’s football, and that’s what I said.
“It had nothing to do with the relationship with me and the coach or the players or the club. I am professional enough to accept the decision. I havto move on and the club has to move on.” (The Independent)
Interesting timing from Herr Ballack. Chelsea face a selection crisis in midfield, and he reminds everyone what they threw away.
He is right though.
Chelsea look very light in the middle of the park, with Ramires not yet up to speed, and Yuri Zhirkov and John Obi Mikel unable to dominate a game as Frank Lampard and Michael Essien can. None of Chelsea’s fit midfield players are especially creative either, and the Blues could do with the subtle approach of Yossi Benayoun.
Still, Ballack would not be able to help much at the moment.
He was injured himself just a few weeks into his second Bundesliga career back at Bayer Leverkusen and is unlikely to play again in 2010. After missing the World Cup with another long term lay-off, one can’t help but feel for the German.
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