Michael Ballack has admitted that Manchester United wanted to sign him back in 2006 before he moved to Chelsea and that he snubbed the advances because Manchester United “weren’t good enough” in Europe.
At the time, United had crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage in the previous year and it was because of that, combined with Chelsea’s financial muscle powering them forward, that swayed Ballack’s decision.
Speaking to Four Four Two magazine in a lengthy interview, Ballack said: “Yes, Manchester United wanted me.
“They came before Chelsea, but I didn’t have discussions with Sir Alex Ferguson. At this time United were not really good in the Champions League, they had gone out in the first round that year.
“But Chelsea was growing really quickly, so I wanted to be part of this. I saw we could reach something really, really big in the next few years. Also, London is a place I was excited to live with my family.
Ballack’s decision was nearly vindicated in 2008 when Chelsea reached the Champions League final in Moscow against none other than Manchester United. A John Terry slip and an Edwin van der Sar save denied Ballack of the Champions League that had eluded him in his career having lost the final in 2002 with Bayer Leverkusen – shame.
Given the fact that Manchester United reached four semi-finals and two finals between 2007-2011, maybe Ballack should have thought about his decision more and he had already left before Chelsea finally won the Champions League in 2012.
Maybe Ballack regrets his decision to not sign for Manchester United and from our point of view, it could of saved us £17 million as Owen Hargreaves would likely not have been signed from Bayern Munich in 2007 had Ballack made the move to Old Trafford instead of Stamford Bridge.