It was announced late on Tuesday that Michael Ballack had been released by Chelsea after his current deal had expired.
The German international spent four seasons with the Premier League champions, making over 150 appearances.
Ballack was a key component in the Chelsea midfield during his time with the club. He and Frank Lampard helping to lead the club to five domestic honors in four seasons.
The 33-year-old will miss the World Cup in South Africa after being injured in the FA Cup Final, subsequently his last game for the club.
Despite his age, Ballack and a number of people within the game still feel he has the ability to play at the highest level.
His game has developed over the last 12 months with Ballack slipping back into a defensive midfielders position, thus playing more of a holding role.
This move is more than likely to extend his career as an elite performer on the world game.
So where next for Michael Ballack?
A return to his former club cannot be ruled out. Ballack is a legend in German football and could comfortably command a place in FC Hollywood's team.
Verdict—A possibility, friendly with the high rollers at the Allianz Arena. 7/10
Reports today have suggested that Jose Mourinho is very interested in making the German enforcer his first major signing. Could prove a shrewd signing, has the experience that was sometimes missing in the middle for Madrid last season.
Verdict—A long shot, but Mourinho was the man who brought him to London in the first place. 5/10
With the imminent departure of Cesc Fabregas, Ballack could prove to be a very clever short term signing by Arsene Wenger. Would love to play in the current Arsenal side, his ability to break forward late could be deadly.
Verdict—The least likely, not a typical Wenger signing, would likely go for a younger model. 4/10
Would be the perfect signing for Manchester City, has the experience they are looking for in midfield, still has the ability to take them to the next level and would provide the leadership that is sometime lacking
Verdict—A possibility, Mancini has money to spend, but a Ballack type leader could well be his most important signing. 6/10
The Middle East
Could well be tempted to have one last big payday and head for the deserts. Reports have emerged that there are a number of potential suitors from the region.
Verdict—Completely depends on Ballack. If he feels he has something to give in Europe, then it's unlikely. 5/10
Major League Soccer
According to a very reliable source, Ballack could be very keen on moving stateside. He is rumored to love the country, and his agent has strong American sides. Where would he end up though-maybe Philadelphia could get their first big 'designated player'.
Verdict—Again it depends on Ballack. It could be a viable option. If not now, then in the future. 6/10
So, the German has two routes on which he can par take. Either he can stay in Europe and try to make one last big contribution, or he can take an easier step and play in the weaker leagues of Asia and North America.
The decision is now his to make.
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