Add Michael Ballack to the robust list of European stars who are interested in joining Major League Soccer next season.
The Bayer Leverkusen's midfielder's contract ends in June and his agent, Michael Becker, has confirmed to Goal.com that the 35-year-old is open to the possibility of playing in America.
"His contract is done in 2012 and of course it is a possibility," Becker revealed to Goal.com.
Becker expects that his client will receive offers from around the world. He has already had inquiries from Asia and the Middle East. And teams from England have also showed interest, but the representative hinted Ballack would not likely return to Premier League.
"He could go back to England but he's already been there," Becker said.
Wherever Ballack lands, he expects to be a regular starter, which should bode well for MLS clubs. No MLS teams have contacted the Ballack camp so far, but Becker believes he would bring something new to the league if brought over.
"With his body type, he's like an American quarterback. He is something definitely different from [Landon] Donovan or even [David] Beckham. Something the MLS hasn't had yet," the agent said.
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Recent reports out of Europe have also suggested that soccer apparel company Adidas is hoping to persuade Ballack to leave Germany for the North American league to replace Beckham, whose five-year contract with the LA Galaxy recently ended.
MLS has built the reputation of being a 'retirement home' for older stars and it appears that trend could continue this winter. Other players rumored to be interested in joining the league include Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero and Chelsea's Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
Ballack, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound physical presence, is known for his finishing and effective passing. In 448 club appearances with Bayern Leverkusen, he has scored 118 goals, an impressive stat for a central midfielder. This year, he has shined in the Champions League.
Leverkusen has surprisingly become the first team to qualify for the knockout stages of Group E, which also features Chelsea and Valencia. Becker believes Ballack's form during the group stage has played a big part in the team's recent success.
"Looking at that group, no one expected Leverkusen to be the first team to qualify," said Becker.
However, Ballack has had some injury issues over the past few years, which could deter teams from reaching out to the aging player. Defenders have tried to counter his physical game by playing over aggressively, as evidenced by Kevin-Prince Boateng's brutal tackle in the 2010 FA Cup final that severely injured Ballack's ankle, putting his career in question.
Becker stated that most of Ballack's injury concerns have come from costly situations but he is happy that from an age standpoint, Ballack hasn't had the types of injuries that normally affect players of his age.
"Aside from moments like Boateng's tackle, those are accidents not the chronic injuries that you would expect [of players of his age]," Becker said. "I think in a way, that will provide him some longevity as he has spent some time off the field and paid close attention to his physical health."
Becker has ruled out retirement for his client and fully expects Ballack to play for at least another two seasons.
"In our conversations, it hasn't been brought up at all," said Becker.