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Ballack: Abramovich behind exit

Michael Ballack claims Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was behind the decision to release him.

The 33-year-old midfielder was informed of his fate on Wednesday, alongside fellow out of contract pair Joe Cole and Juliano Belletti.

Ballack, who had been at Stamford Bridge since 2006, has revealed the decision came as little surprise following a breakdown in negotiations over a new deal.

The injured Germany captain was believed to be holding out for a two-year contract rather than sign a 12-month deal which was on the table.

"It's unfortunate we couldn't come together, but I have to put it behind me," Ballack told The Times.

"I've known for a while that the negotiations had stopped and it's time to move on. I have to find a new club and carry on with my career.

"Chelsea was 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."

Ballack is currently injured and will miss the World Cup with an ankle problem picked up during the FA Cup final.

However, the former Bayern Munich midfielder has no plans to wind down his career just yet.

He added:"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 Championship.

"I've played in three Euros and two World Cups so know how special they are and 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 want to stay in Europe.

"I'm a proud German who always enjoyed living there, so have some options back home."

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Article title: Ballack: Abramovich behind exit

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