Belfast Telegraph

I was released by Chelsea against Carlo Ancelotti’s wishes: Ballack

Michael Ballack has said that Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti did not agree with the club's decision to release him last summer, and that the Italian was surprised when it actually happened.

Ballack was one of five senior players who left Stamford Bridge in the wake of Chelsea's Premier League and FA Cup double, the most successful season in the club's history.

Ballack accepted the decision taken by 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 club's annual wage bill.

But he has revealed that Ancelotti was not in agreement with Abramovich over the cull, which has left Chelsea embarrassingly short of cover now that John Terry, Frank Lampard and Alex are all sidelined with serious injuries.

Ballack, now with Bayer Leverkusen, said: “I had the feeling 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 German refused to reveal what was said but admitted that Ancelotti had been taken by surprise by the club's ruthless actions.

“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 have to move on and the club has to move on.”

l Michael Emenalo has been appointed Chelsea's assistant first team coach following the departure of Ray Wilkins last week. Emenalo had been working as head opposition scout for the club since October 2007.

Belfast Telegraph


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