Shevchenko decision within days

May 20, 2006

AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko is set to make a decision on his future by the end of next week.

The Ukraine international announced earlier this month that he wanted to leave Milan after seven years at the San Siro, and Chelsea are keen to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

However, Milan yesterday offered Shevchenko a two-year extension to his current contract, which ends on June 30, 2009, in an effort to keep him in Italy.

Shevchenko is considering that proposal while holidaying on the French Riviera, and will meet the Milan board on his return next week.

'I am evaluating (Milan's offer). I will return to Italy on the 24th or 25th (of May) and will meet them very soon,' he said in Gazzetta dello Sport.

Shevchenko played down suggestions that he had already opted for a move to the Premiership, saying: 'As I have said before, I have never stated that I have decided to go to Chelsea.

'I only said that I was evaluating that possibility for family reasons and to organise my future.

'I am evaluating every possibility. My time at Milan is special. The fans are special. And everyone in Milan is special. I have been able to learn a different type of football, to win and to win the Balon D'Or (European Player of the Year).'

One factor which could sway Shevchenko's decision is his desire to learn English - which he admits is difficult to achieve at present.

The 29-year-old, who is married to American model Kristen Pazik, explained: 'The problem is me, because I do not know my wife or my son's language and when can I study?

'When one is a footballer at a great club you have very little time to study.'

With Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich backing Chelsea, money is unlikely to be an obstacle for the London club if they decide to try to sign Shevchenko from Milan.

However the striker, who will captain Ukraine at this summer's World Cup, insists his final decision will not be based on financial rewards.

'Money has never been my first priority,' revealed the former Dynamo Kiev striker.

'Milan have done what they can. It is only me that can reflect. That is why I am here in the Cote D'Azur. I am resting and I am trying to avoid being influenced about a decision that should be only mine.'

Shevchenko was Milan's top scorer with 19 goals in 28 league appearances last season, while he also netted nine times in the Champions League.