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Leverkusen open to Ballack exit

18 February 2012-AFP

Bayer Leverkusen owner Wolfgang Holzhaeuser has said the club is willing to discuss whether the former Germany captain Michael Ballack can leave before the end of his current contract.

"His contract runs until June 30 but if he wants to leave before then, we can certainly talk about it," Holzhaeuser was quoted as saying on Friday by the German magazine, Focus.

Holzhaeuser, however, ruled out the idea of a farewell match because of Ballack's intention to pursue his career elsewhere.

Ballack recently expressed his desire to play at Leverkusen until the end of his contact out of loyalty to the club's fans.

Rumours have been circulating for several weeks about a possible transfer to the United States, where New York Red Bulls are said to be interested.

The former Chelsea player has been relegated to the substitutes' bench and sat out the German side's 3-1 UEFA Champions League defeat by Barcelona on Tuesday with a calf injury that will keep him on the sidelines for two more weeks.

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