Ballack's £121,000 a week (after tax)

With an easy urbanity and an even more assured sense of confidence, Michael Ballack yesterday settled into life as the Premiership's highest-paid footballer by dismissing the merits of Manchester United over Chelsea and declaring his main aim in coming to England was to win the Champions' League over domestic trophies.

The 29-year-old German has agreed a three-year deal with Chelsea on a free transfer from Bayern Munich. The split, after four seasons in Bavaria, has been as acrimonious as it is lucrative for Ballack, who will add a seven-figure signing-on fee - spread over the duration of his contract - to his substantial salary. The deal is thought to work out at £121,000 a week. After tax.

But Ballack denied the move was about money - "in any league I could have earned well", he said - and insisted that it was purely about sporting ambition and trying out life in another country. England was his destination because of its burgeoning competitiveness - the midfielder cited Liverpool winning the European Cup last season and Arsenal being in the final this - over other nations he had considered where he could play football "in the sun".

Ballack was hardly short of suitors. Both here and elsewhere. "Manchester United came in quite early for me," he said. "But really I saw the possibilities of Chelsea being much greater. It's a stronger team and also London has its attractions especially as I have a family. In the final analysis Chelsea's aims for the coming years were attractive."

He was, nevertheless, reminded of a clash he had with John Terry in the tunnel after Chelsea had knocked Bayern out of the Champions' League. "I've heard the reports on that," the unflappable Ballack said. "But you have to remember he's Chelsea's captain and representative and I've a lot of respect for him as a world-class player.

"But the game is about winning and the will to win. I wanted to win and losing to Chelsea was hard. But these things happen. It's like 'mind games'. You just have to think back to the Vieira-Keane incident. It's all part of football. John Terry is a great player and in some ways we are quite similar. We are both fighters. I don't see there being any problem." Indeed that "fighting spirit" attracted him to Stamford Bridge. Ballack was equally clear in dealing with the issue of exactly where he fits into the team - and whether he faces a rivalry with Frank Lampard.

"Frank Lampard and myself play in roughly the same position and Frank's got a great responsibility at Chelsea with the number of goals he's scored," said Ballack, who scored 14 times last season and has been a prolific contributor throughout his career. "I can help share the burden. I am quite flexible - I can play at the back, the front of midfield, and that flexibility is in the side as well."

It's likely that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will vary his formation. The 4-3-3 will survive at times, with Michael Essien as Claude Makelele's understudy, flanked by Ballack and Lampard. Alternatively fans can expect a 4-4-1-1 formation with Ballack as a second striker, and also a diamond in midfield with either player at its tip. The rest of the Premiership beware. Mourinho, clearly, wants options. "Jose knows my strengths and the goals I score from midfield," Ballack said. "That's what we have to base things on."

Ballack talked of his conversations with Mourinho although few others have described the Portuguese - who carried out a bizarre little Q&A with himself yesterday - as a "jolly chap". Ballack's other observations on Mourinho were more standard. "He's also a manager who wants to win," he said. "Although he's quite young he's achieved a lot and even though this team has world-class players they still look up to Mourinho. We talked about that and progressing further in the Champions' League."

It is a competition that the three-times German footballer of the year, with three Bundesliga titles and three German FA Cups, has not won. He lost in the final with Bayer Leverkusen and clearly feels his chances have improved with joining his new club. "One of the prime reasons I came to Chelsea was the Champions' League," he said. "I see them as a big chance of making that step forward." Ballack disclosed that he had spoken to the club's owner, Roman Abramovich and that the two had talked in Russian (the player studied the language at school). He also spoke to Germany's coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and to German players in the Premiership about the move. Unsurprisingly everyone was enthusiastic.

There is just one vexed issue. Ballack always wears the No 13 shirt. At Chelsea it's occupied by William Gallas. A new home strip is unveiled in July. So which number will Ballack sport? The question was side-stepped but it may be academic. As he arrives, Gallas is set to leave, of course. The shirt will soon be his.

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone