In what has been a series of big changes for Germany's former national soccer team captain Michael Ballack, the player has lost his contract with FC Chelsea after reported disagreements over the length of it.
Ballack is out of the World Cup because of an injury
English football club Chelsea has declined to renew former German national soccer team captain Michael Ballack's contract, leaving the star midfielder up for grabs.
"We were unable to agree on further cooperation," Ballack's manager Michael Becker told news agency DPA.
The disagreement reportedly centered on the length of the contract: Chelsea was only willing to give a one-year contract, while Ballack wanted two years. Other media reports have also cited disagreements over pay.
Speculation has already begun on which teams will be wooing Ballack, 33, who was ruled out from taking part in the 2010 World Cup because of an ankle injury. Among the reported contenders are Real Madrid and Bundesliga clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04.
In his four years with the Blues, Ballack won one English Premier League title and three English FA Cups.
Ballack's English teammate Joe Cole also lost his contract with Chelsea, while Ghanaian national player Michael Essien reportedly got a two-year extension with the club to 2015.
Author: Andrew Bowen (dpa/SID)
Editor: Nancy Isenson