Ballack in advanced talks with Chelsea

April 12, 2006

BERLIN, April 12 (Reuters) - Germany captain Michael Ballack is in advanced negotiations with Chelsea about a move to London, his agent Michael Becker was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Rejecting criticism from Bayern Munich commercial manager Uli Hoeness that Ballack was primarily interested in money, Becker told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Bayern had treated Ballack unfairly in their talks to extend his contract.

'This comment is without foundation,' Becker said, referring to Hoeness's remark.

'Money is not the issue in the price category that Michael is in. He will be making a decision based on sporting considerations. We are in serious negotiations with Chelsea in London.'

The midfielders's contract at Bayern runs out at the end of the season. The 29-year-old has rejected a reported offer of £20million to sign a new deal with the German champions.

'It was always clear that Michael was not interested in learning a new language or a new culture but rather a new currency,' Hoeness told Kicker newspaper on Monday, mocking Ballack's earlier claims he wanted to learn a new language.