Michael Ballack believes that a Jose Mourinho-inspired Chelsea can reassert its domestic dominance by making the Premier League title a priority next season.
As exclusively revealed by Goal, a deal for the Portuguese boss to return to Stamford Bridge was agreed in principle in April, with confirmation of his homecoming imminent following his departure from Real Madrid at the end of a strained, trophyless season.
The former Blues and Bayern Munich midfielder told Goal that he expects his former manager to capitalize on Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement to make Chelsea title-winners again.
"Mourinho did fantastic for Chelsea - the fans love him and you can see why he wants to go back to where he was loved to try and be successful," Ballack remarked at the adidaslab in London. "After winning two European trophies now, maybe Chelsea should be focused on the Premier League.
"Manchester United have lost a big manager so it will be interesting to see how they do. Next season will be a big fight between Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City."
Ballack spent four trophy-laden years at Stamford Bridge, lifting the Premier League trophy, three FA Cups and a League Cup. He was also part of the side that lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final.
"During my time at Chelsea the focus was on European success," he recalled. "Now Chelsea have achieved that, maybe it is time to focus on winning the league again."