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Midfielders Joe Cole and Michael Ballack plus the versatile Juliano Belletti will leave Chelsea FC at the end of the month, the English champions have announced.
All three players are out of contract as of 1 July, and will be free to decide their next moves. Cole, currently with the England squad at the FIFA World Cup, joined Chelsea from West Ham United FC in 2003 and went on to make 282 appearances in all competitions, scoring 40 goals. The 28-year-old won three league titles with the London club, and was Chelsea player of the year in 2008 when he helped them reach the UEFA Champions League final.
Germany captain Ballack, 33, came to Chelsea in 2006 upon the expiry of his FC Bayern München contract and scored 25 goals in his 168 outings. The last of those games came in their double-clinching FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth FC in May, the third time the former Chemnitzer FC, 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Bayer 04 Leverkusen player had lifted the trophy. However, the match had an unhappy postscript as Ballack sustained an ankle injury at Wembley that ruled him out of the World Cup.
Belletti, who can play at right-back or in midfield, arrived at Chelsea in 2007 from FC Barcelona having scored the winner in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League final. He converted a penalty in the Blues' shoot-out defeat in that fixture two years later. In all, the 33-year-old former Brazilian international made 94 Chelsea appearances.
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