Mourinho welcomes Ballack, hopes for Shevchenko
LONDON, May 14: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho welcomed the arrival of Germany midfielder Michael Ballack today and indicated the champions were trying hard to sign Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko.
Speaking from an open-topped bus as it snaked its way through west London streets packed with cheering fans, Mourinho told Chelsea TV: ''He (Ballack) believes in us, he believes in Chelsea, he believes he can have success.
''He believes in the Champions League, he believes in three, four years' success for him in a crucial time of his career.'' ''He had a lot of other chances as you can imagine. He decided on Chelsea and I think we are very happy and I think also English football should be happy to have such a player playing in the Premiership.'' The English champions are planning to present the 29-year-old playmaker, who helped Bayern Munich win a second successive German league and Cup double, at a news conference tomorrow.
Bayern's fans, disappointed with Ballack's decision to leave, jeered him at his last game for the side yesterday.
Ballack will be vying for a place in a strong midfield that includes Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele of France and tough Ghana international Michael Essien.
Lampard, runner up as world and European player of the year, said Ballack was a ''good player and a talented player.
''He's another player who wants to get forward so we'll have to link up,'' the England midfielder told Sky Sports News.
He dismissed speculation he might leave because of the competition. ''No way,'' he said over the noise of hooting horns and bellowing fans. ''I'm very happy here. Days like this make me realise how happy.'' TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS AC Milan's Shevchenko has told his club he wants to leave after seven years at San Siro but Mourinho and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon say negotiations are tough.
''The natural thing is we have a big striker coming to join us,'' Mourinho told Sky Sports News. ''I can't say if it is Shevchenko or not.
''Shevchenko is a player who belongs to Milan and Milan have him on a long contract and can say the same thing as we in relation to Gallas which is no offers are wanted.'' France defender William Gallas has told Chelsea he wants to leave but the club say he must complete the year he has left on his contract.
''I am optimistic that I will keep every important player and am optimistic that we can bring in two or three players of a big quality,'' Mourinho added.
''Shevchenko, I cannot say I am confident because Milan have the power.'' Kenyon, who joined billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich and the players on the bus to celebrate back-to-back titles, said Chelsea had been talking to Milan about the former European player of the year.
''Shevchenko is a type of player we would like. We have shown our interest in him for the last two seasons,'' Kenyon told Sky Sports News.
''Milan, like Chelsea, don't lose players they don't want to but to improve what we have got it would have to be a big player.
Shevchenko is of that class.
''It has got to be 50-50, but I wouldn't put it at any more than that.'' Kenyon played down reports linking Chelsea with Argentine forward Carlos Tevez of Brazilian champions Corinthians.
''We have looked at him. He is a good player and does a good job, but reports linking us with bids for him are not right,'' Kenyon said.
''I would be surprised if we saw him in a Chelsea shirt this season.''