Ballack and Chelsea on collision course

Last updated : 06 September 2007 By Paul Lagan
What the Ballack is going on at Stamford Bridge?
Is the German captain Michael Ballack really injured for another three months or are Chelsea playing all of us, for fools?
I ask this because Ballack has been left out of Chelsea's Champions League squad.
Chelsea maintain that the injury sustained in April against Newcastle means that the midfielder is still two to three months away from first-team action.
Ballack told his German bosses he hoped to be available for their match against the Republic of Ireland on October 13.
If that's the case then surely he would be available for the majority of Chelsea's group matches in the Champions League.
Something does not quite add up.
It's possible that Ballack will declare himself fit for his national side while his club side decides he's not ready for them.
Sound familar? Well it's just what's happing to Chelsea's other superstar Andriy Shevchenko.
The Ukraine striker has not figured for the Blues in league action this season yet has already played for his country.
He is expected to play twice for them again in the next seven days.
Ballack and Sheva are two players at the centre of speculation of moves away from the Bridge.
By keeping both away from the first team their market value remains high. In Ballack's case, he will be able to leave in January still available for the Champions League berth at another top club, believed to be Real Madrid. He will command a high fee - not bad for a free signing. Perhaps Chelsea view his as a good bit of business.
I think Chelsea are playing with their fans, taking us for fools. Their actions run contray to the evidence produced by Sheva's ability to play for his country and Ballack's intention to play next month.
Not all the greatest spin mastery of an Alastair Campbell will get Chelsea out of this embarrassment.
It's just the sort of news that will irk Roman Abramovich as his club lurches helplessly from one PR disaster to another.