Out the door

Chelsea have decided to release two of the most important players of the Abramovich era on free transfers this summer. Joe Cole and Michael Ballack are both to leave Stamford Bridge after periods in which they helped Chelsea win three Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

Cole looks set to join one of either Tottenham or Arsenal after he and his agent couldn’t agree a new deal with Chelsea. Ballack meanwhile is reportedly shocked that Chelsea are letting him go; his agent Michael Becker told the BBC that he hadn’t spoken to Chelsea for three months, that would have been prepared to take a pay cut and that he was ‘completely shocked’ at being released. Cole refused to talk about his future when question by journalists in South Africa.

‘I am just focused on the World Cup,’ he said. ‘I'll leave that with my agent. I just want to get my head down and try and train and play well. My future will sort itself out.

‘It won't distract me. It has been going on for a while and it is a story to be told at another time. I want to try and do my best for England over the next few weeks.’

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