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Chelsea set to confirm Drogba exit

CHELSEA will announce Didier Drogba’s departure in the next few days, with both sides reconciled to the fact that a parting of the ways after Saturday’s victorious Champions League final is now inevitable.

Drogba’s role in the club’s win on penalties over Bayern Munich did fuel speculation that he might stay, but in reality the decision was made some time ago that he would not sign a new contract when his existing deal runs out.

The club do not see the logic of giving the Ivorian the two-year deal he wants and being a free agent will be lucrative for Drogba, with the possibility of following Nicolas Anelka to the Chinese Super League.

There were quotes attributed to Drogba last night to the effect that he was prepared for a “leap into the unknown”, but the player later denied, through the club, that they were his words.

In the same report, from France Football magazine, it was claimed that Drogba had told his Chelsea team-mates that he was leaving the club during their open-top bus tour of west London on Sunday afternoon.

Nevertheless, a formal announcement is expected in the next few days, with the parting on amicable terms.

Chelsea have been linked with Radamel Falcao, Hulk and Edinson Cavani should they decide to end Drogba’s time at the club.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo and Fernando Torres also face uncertain futures with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich taking his time over deciding who he wants to stay.

Ballotelli to serve Italy probation

CESARE Prandelli, the Italy coach, has said he wanted to see headlines only about what Mario Balotelli, the Manchester City striker, does on the pitch and not off it during next month's European Championship finals in Poland and Ukraine.

The 21 year-old has been included in Prandelli’s squad despite several moments of injudicious behaviour on and off the pitch last season.

However, Prandelli, who is desperately light of striking options, made it clear that Balotelli was on probation.

“In my opinion, he has to see it as an extraordinary occasion for him as it is for the national side,” said Prandelli.

“It is a time for him to be written about for what he does on the pitch and not what he has done off it.”

“We are not going to win Euro 2012,” said Prandelli who replaced Marcello Lippi in 2010. “But I like to say that the Italians know how to surprise.”

“I would like to show that the team has at least worked well and which is arriving at this Euro knowing it is experiencing a unique moment with a smile on its lips.”