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Official: Ballack, Joe Cole join Belletti in unemployment line

It is indeed true.

Chelsea will allow Joe Cole and Michael Ballack, along with Juliano Belletti, to leave the club when their respective contracts expire at the end of the month.

Initial thoughts:
Juliano Belletti's exodus was nothing more than a formality; he had made it clear months ago that 2009-10 would be his last season at the club. Not much else to say on that front. Good luck to the man.


Joe Cole, eh. It was give and take with Joey. His play - when he actually played - certainly did not warrant the 100K per week extension he was apparently seeking, as quoted in many a tabloid over the last half-year or so. Unable to hold down a regular first-team position, whether because of injury or form, failed to warm him to King Carlo. Conversely, Coley's lack of field time did little to convince himself to stay at Chelsea at a reduced price. If anything, the sole reason to keep Joe in our stable, for at least me personally, is purely sentimental. A boyhood fan of the club, an electric performer on his day, and a man who truly loves the game - it's hard to let someone of such character walk. That's what we've done, though, and I can't fault the club for the decision.

Michael Ballack, meanwhile, departing after four seasons in London would be described as a shock by this supporter. Sure, at 33 years old, our former Der Kaiser was in the twilight of his career. Sure, his wages were hitting Roman's pocket pretty heavy. So. As a reliable utility man, with leadership and experience unrivaled by most, Ballack represents a fine option - even if he were to see a reduction in minutes. To be honest, Ballack has been grossly underrated by this entire support group, myself included. When he played, we usually won. Furthermore, he actually wanted to stay at Chelsea. In an exclusive with the Times, Ballack cites Romes as the reason for his departure: "Chelsea was always my first choice as I had four great years at the club and enjoyed every minute, but it was not to be. It’s still my first choice, even now, but it was not up to me. The decision was down to Roman." He also reveals, if true, that Carlo recommended that the German captain be the first player awarded a new deal in the offseason. Alright, then.

So that's that, I guess. More on this when/if it develops. For now, let's honor these fine servants.

We here at Chelsea Offside would like to take this time to thank Joe, Mike and Juliano for their significant contributions to Chelsea Football Club. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors as long as you stay away from Spurs.

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