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Santa Cruz offsets Ballack blues

Published: Tuesday 15 November 2005, 14.54CET
FC Bayern München have shown their support for injured striker Roque Santa Cruz by extending his contract, although Michael Ballack's future is in doubt.

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Published: Tuesday 15 November 2005, 14.54CET

Santa Cruz offsets Ballack blues

FC Bayern München have shown their support for injured striker Roque Santa Cruz by extending his contract, although Michael Ballack's future is in doubt.
FC Bayern München have shown their support for injured striker Roque Santa Cruz by extending the Paraguayan international's contract until summer 2009.

Colorado trip
The 24-year-old damaged cruciate ligaments in a Bundesliga fixture on 29 October, and flew to the United States on Saturday - 24 hours after his wife Giselle gave birth to their second child - to be operated on by renowned surgeon Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado. Bayern fear Santa Cruz, who has scored three goals in seven Bundesliga outings this term, could miss the rest of the season.

January move?
If so, Santa Cruz may have played his final game in tandem with Michael Ballack after Bayern withdrew their offer of an improved contract to the Germany midfielder. With his deal due to expire in the summer, the German champions could now cash in on the 29-year-old in January rather than see him depart for free in the summer.

Looking out
Speaking at the club's annual general meeting, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "It does not necessarily mean that Michael will leave us but I say point blank that we will immediately sound out the market to look for a replacement." Ballack has won two Bundesliga crowns and two German Cups at Bayern following his transfer from Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Last updated: 15/11/05 20.24CET

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