The Germany captain faces the axe for tonight's Champions League clash with Olympiacos and the Daily Mail says the development may force Ballack to consider his future.

Real Madrid, under German coach Bernd Schuster, have not given up hope of signing him while a return to Bayern Munich is not out of the question following their appointment of Jurgen Klinsmann as manager from next season.

Last summer, when the 31-year-old was out with a persistent ankle injury, Real were keen, but he decided to stay after the Chelsea hierarchy assured the midfielder that he was still very much part of their plans.