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Chelsea signing Kai Havertz out to kick Liverpool’s ass after campaigning against cruelty to donkeys

KAI HAVERTZ loves donkeys and has campaigned against cruelty to animals.

But on the pitch he is aiming to kick ass like childhood hero and former Chelsea star Michael Ballack.

Havertz has already rescued or sponsored a number of donkeys but that is just the start.

The Blues’ £62million summer signing said: “From my first years, my favourite animal was always the donkey.

“It was always a dream for me some day to have one.

“It’s a good opportunity to help save donkeys from the butcher or the circus or things like that.

“It will be a big project for me in the next few years.

“I think animals are very important for us, for the world, and I do my best for them to have a better life.

“Of course, football is, for me, very important. But to be honest, there are many more important things in life than football.”

Havertz plays the piano to relax and comes across as not your average 21-year-old.

In choosing to leave Bayer Leverkusen for the Premier League and Chelsea, rather than join Bayern Munich like so many top young German stars do, he has also broken the mould.

Havertz said: “Of course, it’s a very big step. But I like to do things that not everybody will do.

“For me it’s very exciting to learn another league and to learn another culture.

"The career is not that long, maybe ten to 15 years, and I try to have a new goal.

“My goal was to play in the Premier League and I am very thankful I am here.”

Chelsea fans once more have the personal touch of Frank Lampard to thank for the club’s success in beating the likes of Manchester United to Havertz’s signature.

As was the case with his fellow German international Timo Werner, Havertz was impressed by Lampard’s enthusiasm — although his childhood affinity for Chelsea meant the boss did not have to sell the club too hard.

Havertz said: “Of course the coach has a big impact on my decision.

“For me, it was always important that a club comes to me or my agent and says, ‘You are the player and we want you and we’ll do everything for you, so please come to us’.

“That was the first thing that I had in mind when I signed for a new club. For me, Chelsea is the perfect club.

“Of course, we had in the last years some conversations with other clubs as well and I think that’s normal.

“But in the end Chelsea give me everything.

“I’ve loved Chelsea my whole life. I always watched the team as a kid so it was not a very tough decision for me.

“It’s a big project here. I love to play with young players as well.

“Maybe it needs a few games to play good football but I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve been here for just seven days. I think it will be good in the next few weeks and months.”

Chelsea fans will hope Havertz can match or exceed the achievements of Ballack, who won a Premier League title, three FA Cups and a League Cup while at Stamford Bridge.

It is little wonder that Ballack is one of Havertz’s idols.

The former Germany captain also played for Leverkusen before moving to Bayern, then Chelsea and then back to Leverkusen in the year when Havertz joined the club’s youth set-up.

In playing style, they are cut from the same cloth — what the Germans call an ‘Alleskonner’, a player who can do everything.

Havertz said: “Michael Ballack was always a hero when I was younger.

“I liked him as a player very much. He played in my position.

“He was a midfield player who wanted to score many, many goals.

“I try to score goals like him. He was always a very big player for me.”

“My goal was to play in the Premier League and I am very thankful I am here.

Kai Havertz

But another of Havertz’s childhood heroes did not have such a happy time in the Premier League.

Big Dutch striker Erik Meijer moved from Leverkusen to Liverpool in 1999 but failed to make his mark.

After a loan spell at Preston, Meijer returned to Germany for a late renaissance.

Havertz, who was born in the cathedral city of Aachen, said: “Erik Meijer was one of my idols as a kid because he played for Alemannia Aachen.

“I think I was at every home game with my father and brother.

“He was always the hero and star in the team. He scored very many goals. I liked him as a player.

“He was a very good striker. He played in my childhood team so it was very nice to see him play.

“I know he played for Liverpool but I think I made the right decision to play for Chelsea.”

This afternoon Havertz will try to show the Premier League champions just what they missed out on — by making asses out of them.

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