Crespo mulls over new contract offer from Chelsea

May 25, 2006

BUENOS AIRES, May 25 (Reuters) - Argentina's World Cup striker Hernan Crespo is mulling over his club future after being offered a contract extension by Chelsea.

Crespo helped Chelsea win the Premier League last season but he has never hid his preference for life in Italy where he played for Parma, Lazio, Inter Milan and AC Milan.

"Although I have two years still on my contract, they offered me a renewal, they're making me a proposal for when I'm 33 years old," Crespo was quoted as saying in the daily La Nacion on Thursday.

"That means one has done things well. I'm content to have won the Premier League," he said before Argentina's departure to Europe for the World Cup in Germany starting on June 9.

Asked whether he would stay in England, however, the 30-year-old said: "I don't know. My intention would be to return to Italy or (go to) Spain. At Chelsea they know that, over and above my being happy there," he added.

"(Club owner Roman) Abramovich said to me: 'How can that be? The fans love you, the coach (Jose Mourinho) wants you, I offer to renew your contract and you want to leave?'"

Crespo, unsettled in London off the pitch rather than on it, explained that he would feel socially and culturally more at ease in a Latin country. He has had no offers from clubs in Spain, where he has never played, he added.

The former River Plate striker has scored 29 goals in 54 matches for Argentina and will be taking part in his third World Cup but first as a first-choice player after being Gabriel Batistuta's reserve in France in 1998 and Asia in 2002.