Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Belletti to Leave Chelsea as Contracts End
Cole had spent seven seasons at Chelsea after signing for 6.6 million pounds ($9.6 million) from West Ham in 2003. He played 282 games for the Blues, scoring 40 times, and helped the club win three Premier League titles.
The 28-year-old is training for his third World Cup in South Africa and declined to discuss his club future with reporters today. England plays its first game against the U.S. in three days.
“I’m just focused on the World Cup at the moment and leave that to my agent,” Cole said at a televised news conference from Rustenburg. “My future will sort itself out. It’s a story to be told another day.”
Cole missed eight months after rupturing a knee ligament in January 2009. He returned to play in 38 games last season, scoring twice, as the Blues won the league and F.A. Cup “double.”
Cole wanted a 30,000 pounds-per-week raise on his existing salary of 80,000 pounds a week to stay at Chelsea, the Independent reported today. The midfielder rejected an undisclosed offer from the club, the newspaper said.
Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City have all expressed interest in Cole, according to U.K. media reports.
Out of World Cup
Ballack, 33, joined Chelsea in 2006 on a free transfer from Bayern Munich. He scored 25 goals in 168 games for the Blues.
Germany captain Ballack will miss the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury in May’s F.A. Cup final victory over Portsmouth. He scored five goals in 44 games last season.
Ballack has been linked in U.K. media reports with clubs in the Middle East, as well as a return to Germany. His former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho may try to take him to Real Madrid, the Daily Mail said today.
Belletti, 33, joined Chelsea on a three-year contract from Barcelona in 2007. He was the starting right-back in his first season, but lost his spot with the arrival of Jose Bosingwa in 2008.
Belletti, who scored the winning goal for Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final, had five goals in 94 games at Chelsea.