Chelsea have responded to claims that there is a hidden agenda behind Michael Ballack’s absence from their Champions League squad.
The Germany skipper’s role at Chelsea has come under scrutiny after he was left out of the squad list for the group stage of the tournament, but Chelsea insist his absence is due to injury.
Ballack is currently recovering from ankle surgery undertaken in the summer but is expected to be fit by November, which would entail him missing just two out of the six Champions League group matches.
The decision to omit Ballack led to criticism from a mystified German national coach, Joachim Low, and even prompted speculation that the club were preparing to offload the player in the January transfer window.
Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has admitted he feels Ballack would have been better advised to have joined Manchester United rather Chelsea.
But a statement on the club’s official website read: “Chelsea Football Club would like to reiterate that Michael Ballack’s omission from the UEFA Champions League group phase squad list was taken only because of injury.
“There is no other reason for the decision and suggestions to the contrary are unfair on both Michael, who is attempting to get fit as soon as possible, and our medical team in whom we have every confidence.”