Ballack vows to play on
Injured Germany midfielder Michael Ballack promised to continue his career for at least two more years after blaming Russian owner Roman Abramovich for his Chelsea exit.
The 33-year-old, who will miss the FIFA World Cup™ because of an ankle injury suffered in the FA Cup final win over Portsmouth, told The Times: "To end my career like this is not an option.
"I want to play for at least two more years at the highest level so I can play for Germany at the European Championships.
"I've played in three EURO's and two World Cups so I know how special they are and I 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 I want to stay in Europe. I'm a proud German who always enjoyed living there, so I have some options back home."
Ballack helped Chelsea to their first Premier League and FA Cup double and The Times reported that manager Carlo Ancelotti wanted to keep him at Stamford Bridge. But Abramovich was determined on a squad clear-out after feeling "humiliated" by the UEFA Champions League loss to Inter Milan, coached by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
Ballack, discarded along with Joe Cole and Juliano Belleti, added: "It's unfortunate we couldn't come together, but I have to put it behind me.
"I've known for a while that negotiations had stopped and it's time to move on. I have to find a new club and carry on with my career.
"Chelsea were 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."