Ballack handed rebel Gallas' no.13 shirt

August 3, 2006

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack been given the number 13 shirt for next season, casting more doubt over the future of France international William Gallas.

Gallas is in trouble with the Stamford Bridge club after failing to meet up with his team-mates in Los Angeles for their pre-season tour.

The 28-year-old defender, who has been linked with a move away from the Premiership champions, has a year left to run on his current contract but was not given his usual squad number for next season.

'Initially I wanted the 13 shirt and I was sad because it had already been taken,' said Germany international Ballack.

'I had accepted the number 19 shirt. But two days ago the coach (Jose Mourinho) came and said `okay, it's fine for you to have the 13'. There was no particular reason behind the decision.'

Ballack has revealed that former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who played for Tottenham, played a role in the transfer by telling him about London.

The 29-year-old added: 'Jurgen told me that the crowds in the stadiums are overwhelming, an incredible feeling every time.

'He also spoke about the coach here, Jose Mourinho. He said he was a good coach and that I would fit in with that soccer game. He said nothing but positives.

'We [Jurgen Klinsmann and I] talked about it a lot. I'd had a year to think about my move and where I wanted to go.

'When the offer came in from Chelsea I basically heard only good things about them. Jurgen has great memories of the English league and he said that my style would fit in well here.'

And the midfield star revealed he would be quite happy to finish his playing career at Stamford Bridge after successful spells with Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.

'Maybe I will finish my career at Chelsea,' he said. 'I have a three-year contract and so everything leads to that.'