Ballack ‘surprised’ by Chelsea release

MICHAEL BALLACK’S agent has told of the German’s “complete surprise” at being released by Chelsea.

The 33-year-old was believed to be locked in talks with the Premier League champions to extend his existing deal, which is worth an estimated £150,000 a week.

But Ballack’s agent, Michael Becker, claimed there had been no contact with Chelsea and said the midfielder was willing to take a pay cut and an initial one-year extension to stay at Stamford Bridge.

“He was completely surprised,” Becker said. “He has not spoken to Chelsea for three months.”

Ballack was signed by Jose Mourinho on a free transfer from Bayern Munich in 2006 and went on to make 167 appearances, scoring 26 goals. In that time, he won three FA Cups and this season helped the club clinch their first title in four years.

Germany coach Joachim Low yesterday revealed there are “concrete offers from different clubs in different leagues” for Ballack, who is currently on holiday in Miami after being ruled out of the World Cup through injury.

Juliano Belletti, 33, also leaves Chelsea having joined from Barcelona in 2007, making 54 appearances.