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Ex-Chelsea midfielder Ballack defends Bayer Leverkusen return

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has defended his decision return to former club Bayer Leverkusen.

Ballack has spent the last four years in England with the Blues, but he admitted he was not tempted to remain abroad when he learnt his contract was not going to be extended.

"As soon as I knew I was leaving Chelsea, our first thought was to return to Germany,'' he told Bild. "That is our home and we are happy there. We should settle there for the future.''

Ballack, who was forced out of the World Cup with an ankle injury sustained in Chelsea's FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth has signed a two-year contract with Leverkusen but claims he could play on longer, as long as he remains fit.

"Of course I still want to play for the national team and I have my eyes on Euro 2012,'' he said. "I will be 35 then and we will have to see nearer the time what happens (with a new contract). My health also plays a very big role.''

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