Ballack close to Leverkusen switch

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The Independent Football

Michael Ballack is on the verge of signing for Bayer Leverkusen, according to reports in Germany.

The 33-year-old, who was released by Chelsea at the end of last season, is missing the World Cup through an injury picked up in the Blues' FA Cup final victory.

The midfielder is reportedly set to sign a two-year contract with his old side, with whom he reached the Champions League final in 2002.

Ballack, who spent three years with Bayer before leaving for Bayern Munich in 2002 and then moving on to Chelsea in 2006, will earn around 12million euros over two years, according to the Bild newspaper.

Steve McClaren's Wolfsburg were also believed to have been interested in him, but Ballack appears to have opted for a return to his old club.

Bayer general manager Wolfgang Holzhauser earlier told the former Chelsea man time he had until Monday to make up his mind over a move.

"By the start of training on Monday we want clarity," Holzhauser said in the Express newspaper.

Bayer sporting director Rudi Voller insisted, though, Ballack will not be hurried into a decision.

He said: "We a battling with a host of good clubs for Michael's services. We have good arguments on our sides. I hope he opts for us.

"We will not put Michael under pressure. It certainly does not depend on one or two days."