In the end Michael Ballack and FC Chelsea London couldn't agree on the duration of his new contract, so the English Premier League champions agreed to release him alongside Joe Cole and Juliano Belletti.
Ballack, who has been enjoying his stay in London and had even looked at ending his career with Chelsea, wanted a new two year contract while the London side were only willing to offer him a new one year deal. And this wasn't enough for Ballack who wanted to have his future sorted until summer 2012, so he could focus on his club comeback as well as for the German national team after his injury break and go out on an international high at the European Championships 2012. Ballack was even willing to stay for a reduced salary, which team mate Joe Cole wasn't willing to do.
While Ballack is said to have been surprised while on holiday in Florida for his agent Michael Becker the search for a new club has started. And there is said to be serious interest in Ballack in the transfer market though his high salary could be an issue for potential bidding clubs.
One of the top candidates in signing Ballack is said to be Spanish giants Real Madrid. Their new coach Jose Mourinho is known to be a fan of Ballack since their days together at Chelsea. And Mourinho wants to strengthen his midfield. Prime candidate is said to be Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, but signing the man from the Reds looks difficult and Ballack could be an readily available alternative.
Back in Germany some Bundesliga clubs are said to be interested to bring the German captain back. FC Schalke 04 has shown interest before but with their financial difficulties look unlikely to be able to pay Ballack. Other interested clubs are said to be SV Werder Bremen and VfL Wolfsburg besides his former clubs Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1.FC Kaiserslautern. Except for Wolfsburg all other clubs would have to look at their spending possibilities before signing Ballack.
Ballack is also said to have a lucrative offer from a club from the United Arab Emirates. Only last week Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro left Juventus Turino to join Al Ahli Dubai. Could he be the next European star to join a UAE club?
There is still ample time until the transfer period is over and someone of the class of Ballack will surely find a club as he is available on a free transfer. Surely a club from Germany, England, Spain or Italy could take him on.