Milan will open talks with Chelsea after Andriy Shevchenko confirmed he will leave the Italian club this summer.
Shevchenko met with Milan vice president Adriano Galliani on Friday to discuss his future and after the meeting he said: “I’m leaving for family reasons.
“It wasn’t a problem of relations and there is no economic problem.”
Galliani added: “This is certainly the most painful divorce since I have been at Milan. We will begin negotiations with Chelsea and it will not be easy.”
Shevchenko has an American wife and it is understood that they want their son Jordan to learn English, a language which Shevchenko himself doesn’t speak.
It’s a victory of the English language over the Italian language,” admitted Galliani.
“I’ve tried to convince him to stay – even one minute prior to the press conference.
Milan offered Shevchenko a contract extension until 2011 but the lure of London proved too great to resist.
“My wish is that the club can evaluate my transfer,” added the Ukraine international.
“Of course I am saddened because I have seen the looks on the faces of the fans and because of the many messages I have received.
“My wife has nothing to do with this. We decided together for the best interests of our family.
“I don’t speak English, my wife does not speak Ukrainian – the only language we have in common at the moment is Italian.
“The only way to be able to teach our children our love that we have for them is the English language.”
Shevchenko joined Milan from Dynamo Kiev in 1999 and is the second highest scorer in the club’s history behind Gunnar Nordahl with 173 goals.