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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Chelsea announce Ballack capture
Midfielder Michael Ballack and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Ballack is renowned for being a goalscoring midfielder
Chelsea have unveiled Germany captain Michael Ballack as their first signing of the summer.

The 29-year-old midfielder has arrived on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract with Bayern Munich.

Ballack was also coveted by Manchester United but chose to join Chelsea and has signed a three-year-deal.

He said: "I asked some players about England - Robert Huth, Jens Lehmann - and they told me good things about this country and I am happy to be here."

Ballack helped Bayern Munich to three league titles during his four years at the club.

But he rejected the offer of a new deal to stay with Bayern and was jeered by fans in his final appearance for the club against Borussia Dortmund.

We have a team of champions and to improve a team of champions we need champions
Jose Mourinho
His arrival will increase the competition in Chelsea's central midfield - where Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Michael Essien have been regulars this season.

Lampard has reiterated his desire to stay at Chelsea, despite apparent interest from Barcelona, and manager Jose Mourinho also eased any fears the England international may have had over his place.

"How can Michael's arrival affect Lampard and the team?" asked Mourinho.

"It will affect it a lot because Lampard wants top players to play with him and the team want good players to improve the team.

Ballack is the first of a few because we don't need a lot of players, just two or three very good players
Jose Mourinho

"I look forward to working with them and look forward to playing both together."

Ballack began his career with Chemnitz and had spells at Kaiserslautern and Bayer Leverkusen before moving to Bayern Munich.

He was crowned German footballer of the year in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Mourinho added: "Chelsea is very happy and we think English football should be very happy Ballack plays for Chelsea and plays in the Premiership.

"We have a team of champions and to improve a team of champions we need champions.

"A champion is coming here to help follow our target for next year."

The club have also been linked with AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko as they attempt to bolster their attack.

And Mourinho said: "Is Ballack the first of many? No. He is the first of a few because we don't need a lot of players, just two or three very good players.

"We have now been champions for two consecutive years and we want to be more than that.

"We have already the team, now we need two or three world-class players to join the special team we have to make it even better than that."




WATCH AND LISTEN
News conference: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho



SEE ALSO
Chelsea deal not done - Ballack
20 Apr 06 |  Chelsea
Ballack denies deal with Chelsea
28 Feb 06 |  Chelsea
Ballack to keep suitors waiting
16 Nov 05 |  Europe


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