Michael Ballack has admitted he would like to stay at Chelsea but owner Roman Abramovich has made the decision to release him at the end of his contract.
The 33-year-old German international captain, who has been ruled out of this summer’s World Cup due to an ankle inury picked up in the Blues’ FA Cup final win against Portsmouth on May 15, will not be offered the two-year deal he wanted to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Therefore Ballack, who was signed in summer 2006 from Bayern Munich, is free to leave the club from June 30 and hinted at a return to his homeland.
However, he revealed that his first option would be to stay put with Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea side.
“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.”
He added, significantly: “The decision was down to Roman.”