Cole rules out Chelsea exit

Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole wants to spend the rest of his career at Stamford Bridge and is prepared to fight for a regular place under Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole wants to spend the rest of his career at Stamford Bridge and is prepared to fight for a regular place under Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Cole, 26, has put his contract talks on hold but insists he will stay beyond the two years left on his deal, even if Robinho arrives to offer a like-for-like option for Chelsea’s new manager.

Putting negotiations to one side when the season starts is normal club policy, and Cole is happy to concentrate on matters on the pitch at the moment.

“I just wanted to put it to bed now,” he said. “Obviously we wanted to get it sorted out this year but with the new manager coming in and players coming in and out there wasn’t enough time.

“I love it here, the club wants to sign me and there won’t be any problems on that front. I just want to concentrate on my performances and play well because it’s not nice for the fans to have an ongoing thing. But I will be a Chelsea player for the rest of my career.”

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon remains confident Robinho will not be leaving the Bernabeu, although Chelsea privately feel they can tempt the Spanish club with a suitable offer.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon last week insisted Robinho would bolster Scolari’s squad rather than make or break their campaign.

“The reality is that we think and the manager thinks that if August 31 comes and we are what we now, then we have a squad,” he said.

“We think Robinho is the right age and brings some difference to the squad - it would add to the squad but we’re not going to win or lose this season because we have or haven’t got Robinho.”

The players available to Scolari on the first weekend of the season did themselves no harm by brushing Portsmouth aside at Stamford Bridge, with Cole opening the scoring.

“I am competing with other people in the squad and you want to play well,” the England midfielder added. “When you get the chance you have to produce and that’s always the case at this club.

“When you join a big club you have to expect competition. I have always thrived on it. I have always been up against big players at the club, I love competing and learning from them.

“I know I have to step it up again. Football is a game that doesn’t stay still. I performed well last season and the fans voted me player of the year, but that’s all in the past now.”

Michael Ballack sustained a foot injury in the first half against Pompey and has pulled out of Germany’s squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Belgium.

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