Shevchenko to leave Chelsea

COBHAM, England - Andriy Shevchenko will quit Chelsea by the end of the month because the London side cannot guarantee him regular first-team football, Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday. The Ukraine striker and former European Footballer of the Year, who turns 33 on Saturday, has been linked with a return to former club Dynamo Kiev but no deal had been struck with any club yet, Ancelotti said.

"Shevchenko will decide to go play for another team," said the Italian, who coached the Ukraine captain last season at AC Milan where the striker was on loan from Chelsea.

"He will take this decision; it is not our problem to choose the team right for him," Ancelotti said after a training session for Saturday's Premier League game against promoted Burnley at Stamford Bridge.


"I spoke with Shevchenko and he would like to play with continuity here. For me it is difficult to give him this possibility and I think that he has taken the right decision."

The Ukraine captain was in Kiev on Friday to talk to his former club Dynamo, local media reported.

"I've said it many times it was my dream to bring Andriy," Dynamo president Ihor Surkis was quoted as saying by the Segodnya newspaper. "There's a good chance that he will join us but nothing has been agreed just yet."

Shevchenko, who joined Chelsea from Milan for a club record 30 million pounds ($48.86 million) in 2006 in a deal smoothed by Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich, never settled at the London club and scored only nine league goals in two seasons.

The striker is one of the leading scorers in the Champions League, however, and would like to add to his tally.

He was in danger of being left out of Chelsea's Champions League squad, which Ancelotti must name on Tuesday, but the Italian said that had nothing to do with Shevchenko's decision.

"Shevchenko did not have the possibility to play regularly. He has taken the decision only for this."


Chelsea were drawn on Thursday to play Porto, Atletico Madrid and Apoel in the first stage of the Champions League.

They will have to do without top striker Didier Drogba for the first three games of the competition while he serves a ban for unsportsmanlike conduct following the side's semi-final elimination by Barcelona last season.

Ancelotti said Porto and Atletico would be tough. Porto had a strong European pedigree and Atletico would be difficult to play in Madrid but he added: "Probably Porto, Atletico and Apoel will have more problems playing Chelsea."

On Saturday, Chelsea will again be without England winger Joe Cole, out since January with a knee injury, Russian Yuri Zhirkov (knee), and defenders Brazilian Alex (groin) and Portuguese Paulo Ferreira (knee).

"Joe Cole started to train with us on Tuesday. With him we have to stay calm; we have to put him in the squad at the right time and now is not the right time. After the international game we can be more precise," Ancelotti said.

Ancelotti added that Zhirkov, Chelsea's only significant signing of the transfer window, could be fit to play for Russia in World Cup qualifiers on Sept. 5 and 9, after recovering from his knee problem, and could then make his Chelsea debut.

The Italian said he had "no news" about further Chelsea purchases before the window closed next Tuesday. He added, however, that rumours that Chelsea had made a new bid for Bayern Munich's French forward Franck Ribery were "not true."