Ballack seals Bayer return
The 33-year-old, who was unable to lead Germany at the FIFA World Cup™ through an injury picked up in the FA Cup final victory, was released by Chelsea when the season ended.
The midfielder reached the Champions League final with Bayer in 2002. "With my transfer to Bayer Leverkusen a circle is complete," Ballack said on www.bayer04.de. "I had a beautiful and successful time here, on which I like to look back a lot. That was a factor in my decision.
"But above all the good sporting potential of this young and attractive team were persuasive."
Steve McClaren's Wolfsburg were also believed to have been interested in him, but Ballack opted to return to old haunts. "I am especially looking forward to the great fans, who naturally have been key in my decision to return to Bayer," he added.
Ballack, who spent three years with Bayer before leaving for Bayern Munich in 2002 and then moving on to Chelsea in 2006, will reportedly earn around 12million euros over a two-year stay.
Bayer sporting director Rudi Voller is delighted to have signed a player of Ballack's experience, and believes he will help the development of the club's crop of young players.
"With Michael Ballack our team is getting an enormous boost in quality," he said. "Especially our many young players will benefit from his abilities and his experience.
"We did everything to convince Michael. That his preference was for Bayer despite our limited financial possibilities in comparison to the competition, shows his emotional attachment to the club."