Bayern wants Ballack to stay put

BAYERN MUNICH wants Germany captain Michael Ballack to extend his contract with the club beyond next season. Bayern also have to negotiate new contracts with two other highly paid players — goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and attacking midfielder Sebastian Deisler — by the end of next season.

"I hope for a speedy solution. That's the only way Ballack can perform at his maximum,'' Bayern coach Felix Magath said. "And with his ability, I regard him as one of the world's top players.''

Ballack has been pursued by Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, among other top European sides. Bayern refuses to pay the extravagant salaries of some clubs, but it may have to change its strategy to keep the classy midfielder.

"We will keep negotiating until there is a solution,'' manager Uli Hoeness said. "We will have to decide when its too painful and we are at our financial limits.''