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DIDIER DROGBA last night agreed a new three-year contract at Chelsea worth over £100,000 a week.

SunSport understands that the striker’s representatives thrashed out terms with Blues, who expect to announce the deal in the next few days.

It is a big boost for boss Carlo Ancelotti less than two weeks before the new Premier League season kicks off.

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Drogba’s new deal represents a remarkable turn-around in the Ivory Coast hitman’s fortunes at Stamford Bridge.

His future had come into question after he publicly criticised owner Roman Abramovich following Jose Mourinho’s exit.

The 30-year-old also fell out with boss Big Phil Scolari early last season.

And only last May his Blues career was hanging in the balance.

His attack on referee Tom Henning Ovrebo following the Champions League semi-final exit against Barcelona had seemingly put a new deal in danger.

But Drogba, whose four-match UEFA ban was cut to three on appeal, now looks set to finish his career at Chelsea.

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CRISTIANO Ronaldo’s legs have been insured for £90MILLION by Real Madrid.

The Spanish club – which bought Ronaldo for a record £80million in June – want to protect their money if he picks up a long-term injury.

Bosses got nervous after Ronaldo, 24, knocked his knee recently. Real’s doctors have given him the all-clear.

The ace has already been fouled 34 times in three pre-season games. That could rocket as opponents target the World Player of the Year.
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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is banking on Ronaldo – famed for his diving antics – to help win the Champions League.

He said: “We will feed the world with Madridismo.”

Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s old home in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, has been snapped up by new Manchester City signing Emmanuel Adebayor for £5.5million.

He beat off competition for the seven-bedroom house from team-mates Kolo Toure, Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez. New Manchester United signing Antonio Valencia also put in a bid.

Ex-United idol Ronaldo has made a £1.65million profit after paying £3.85million for the pad in February last year. The house has an indoor pool, jacuzzi, gym and cinema room.

Manchester City defender Kolo Toure said he left Arsenal because of the team’s failure to replace their best players.

“When you look at Arsenal you see all the great players have left and are now in the past,” Toure was quoted as saying in British media on Sunday.

“Players like (Thierry) Henry, (Patrick) Vieira and (Ray) Parlour that brought success to Arsenal and I believed it was right at this stage of my career to also move on.”
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The 28-year-old, who completed a reported 14 million pound move to City on Wednesday, was the last member of Arsenal’s 2004 title-winning squad donned the ‘invincibles’ after remaining unbeaten for the season.

“When we were winning the league the spirit was fantastic, we were like a band of brothers,” Toure said.

Since that title triumph Arsenal have only won the FA Cup in 2005 and fans have also seen key players such as Robert Pires, Ashley Cole, Gilberto Silva and Sol Campbell leave.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has replaced them with promising youngsters such as Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey, Denilson and Gael Clichy resulting in a talented but largely inexperienced squad.

The Frenchman has however recently confirmed the club are considering a return for Vieira who is set to leave Italian side Inter Milan.

Toure is big-spending City’s latest recruitment as they continue to buy a squad capable of competing for a Champions League qualification place next season.

City manager Mark Hughes has spent over 90 million pounds in the close-season and Ivory Coast international Toure believes money will bring success.

“You can’t be successful in football without money. This is the football business,” Toure said.

“The best teams are at the top only because they have the best players and to get those players you have to spend a lot of money.”

Torres claims Premier League is best in the world

Fernando Torres says that the English Premier League is still the best in world football, despite a summer of big spending in Spain.
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The Reds ace believes the other European leagues still have some way to go before they can claim to have usurped their English rivals, despite the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to La Liga this year.

“English football has an enormous following across the world, not just because of the players but because of its history, its tradition, the excitement, the capacity crowds,” Torres told Liverpool’s official website.

“The other leagues can learn a lot, even La Liga. (Real) Madrid have signed Kaka and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, and Barcelona have Xavi and (Lionel) Messi but, really, the Premier League is way ahead.”

Torres is also hopeful that Liverpool are able to mount a title challenge this season and claims he wants to get his hands on as much silverware as possible during his time on Merseyside.

“Winning the league here would be like winning the European Championship with Spain last year,” he added. “A player wants to be remembered for what he has won, for what he has given to his club.

“Ten years after you stop playing you want to have medals, trophies. You may have a fantastic car and home but it’s not the same.”
Source : espnsoccernet.com

Fiorentina striker and Romanian international Adrian Mutu was on the receiving end of the largest fine in the history of football: he was ordered to pay former club Chelsea 17.2 million euro in damages after the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) rejected his appeal following the initial decision last year.

Fifa’s dispute resolution chamber ruled in May 2008 that Mutu had committed a breach of contract during his tenure at Chelsea by he failed a doping test in 2004.

Mutu subsequently had appealed to the CAS against the ruling, but the panel eventually upheld the original judgment, ruling on July 31 in favour of the London club and setting a precedent in the world of football.

According to an official statement on the Fifa website: “The claim for compensation of Chelsea Football Club, regarding the breach of a contract which was signed between the two parties on 12 August 2003, has been accepted. The player Adrian Mutu will have to pay the amount of 17 173 990 euro to Chelsea Football Club.”
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This was confirmed by a succinct statement on the CAS official website, which said: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport has today dismissed the appeal filed by the Romanian football player, Adrian Mutu, against the decision rendered by the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) on 7 May 2008 in which he was ordered to pay 17 173 990 euro in compensation to his former club, Chelsea FC, for breach of contract.”

In turn, Chelsea FC have said in a statement on their website: “Chelsea is delighted with the Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) decision”.

Mutu tested positive for cocaine and was handed a seven-month ban, during which period he was released by Chelsea. After his ban expired he signed on with Serie A club Juventus and later Fiorentina, with Chelsea receiving no transfer fee for the player. Chelsea argued that it was due compensation because it was Mutu who breached the contract.

Mutu’s fortune is listed at 10 million. Thus he must seek financial aid in some interesting ways. Report Continues

Former England manager Sir Bobby Robson has died at the age of 76, following a long battle with cancer
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United’s players and staff held a minute’s silence at the training ground on Friday morning.

Flags at the Football Association headquarters in London’s Soho Square and at Wembley Stadium will fly at half mast.

Ipswich flags are also flying at half mast at Portman Road and there will be two minutes’ silence before Friday evening’s friendly against Real Valladolid which kicks off at 1930 BST.

Robson, who was first diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago in 1991, fought a brave battle against the disease. He beat bowel cancer in 1992, a malignant melanoma in 1995 and a tumour in his right lung and a brain tumour, both in 2006.

In 2007 he vowed to “battle as I’ve always done” following the start of chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with cancer for the fifth time.

He made his final public appearance at a charity match at St James’ Park on Sunday

A statement issued on behalf of Robson’s family said: “It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

“He died very peacefully this morning (Friday) at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

“Sir Bobby’s funeral will be private and for family members only.

“A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby’s life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

“Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time.”

Robson is survived by his wife Elsie, and their three children.
Source : BBC Sport

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he will not rush to spend the money raised from the sales of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Wenger has generated in the region of £40m from the transfers but has made only one summer signing so far, Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for £10m.

Thumbs Up.. Or Thumbs Down?

Thumbs Up.. Or Thumbs Down?

“I feel we are strong enough but if we can add then we will do it,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“In England, people think all problems can be sorted out by buying players.”

Arsenal have been linked with a host of players this summer but Wenger says the club are not “close to signing anyone at the moment”.

Defenders Brede Hangeland of Fulham and Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong as well as strikers Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid, Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh, have been linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium.

Former skipper Patrick Vieira, 33, is also rumoured to be on Wenger’s radar after falling out of favour at Inter Milan.

“We have money available so for us it is now (important) to spend it in the right way when we do it or if we do it,” added Wenger after Arsenal’s 1-0 friendly win over German side Hannover on Wednesday.

“The biggest target is to work hard in training, improve what we can improve and have confidence in the players that we have.”

The lack of summer signings, the departures of defender Toure and striker Adebayor and the serious injury to Samir Nasri has put the spotlight on the club’s transfer policy.

The Gunners lost out in their bid to sign Felipe Melo from Fiorentina, with the Brazil midfielder opting to sign for Juventus instead.

Since moving to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, the Gunners boss has focused on nurturing young players rather than capturing experienced stars.
The likes of Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva and Alexander Hleb have all left the club.  Similar talent is still present with starlets such as, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

In a league of purchased ready-made stars this could spell trouble for their place in the top four this coming season.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti insists he hasn’t forgotten about England star Joe Cole, as he continues his comeback from injury.
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Cole managed just 19 appearances last season after a persistent knee problem required surgery in January
Now new coach Ancelotti has maintained Cole has a important role to play this season.

“I like football so know everything about Joe Cole,” he said. “I know all about the top players. He’s perfect to play behind the strikers and has the maturity.

“He’s very good at playing in a small space and is a good dribbler. I will wait until he’s recovered from injury and then try him.”

Ancelotti has employed a diamond formation in midfield during Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the US and is confident Cole can slot into the system.
Source : Espn

–How do you feel about Joe Coles injury woes and what he can contribute? —


This time last year, Hull City was gearing up for its first season in the top flight. The Tigers’ fans had waited over 100 years for this moment and it had finally arrived.

He look's a lot like Hugh Laurie from House. Just not as talented.

He look's a lot like Hugh Laurie from House. Just not as talented.

With a mixture of free agents and hungry young players keen to cut their teeth in the Premier League, manager Phil Brown managed to keep Hull up on the last day of the season, following Newcastle’s failure to win at Aston Villa.

Brown was hailed a hero and the fans of the East Yorkshire club thought that the hard  part was done.

Wrong.

Survival is merely the start, the second season has seen a number of teams that came up, go down, just ask the fans of Reading.

Twelve months on and the club’s position hasn’t really changed. Brown has the money to spend, but can’t sign the players.

But what most fans of the club won’t say is that it is arguably the most successful manager in the club’s history’s fault.

Brown is targeting all the wrong players, he is trying to compete for established Premier League players. They won’t risk coming to a club that could be relegated come what May.

Owen, Zamora, Fortune, Campbell. All of them have no desire to be fighting for survival when they have offers from other more established clubs.

The best option open to Brown would be to sign the best players in the Championship, all would come at reasonable prices and all would have something to prove.

They don’t have to benefit the club in the long term, just long enough for the Tigers to establish themselves as Premier League main-stayers, then the better players will be more likely to take an offer from Hull more seriously.

But It seems that Brown is becoming a desperate man, a man who is likely to become the first managerial casualty of the Premier League this season, because rather than looking at his options, he would rather argue the odds over the transfer windows.

Everyone knows that the transfer window system is a poor idea, which encourages panic buying and puts more money in agent’s pockets. But until that system is changed you just have to get on with it.

Source : A contributor from the Bleacher Report

Kolo Toure is due at Manchester City on Wednesday to complete a medical on his £14million move from Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger adamant that he has plenty of defensive options to cope without one of his most experienced players.

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The sale of Toure, who will receive wages of about £120,000 a week, would follow the departure of Emmanuel Adebayor and will mean Arsenal have banked some £39million from Manchester City over the past two weeks.

At least £30million is understood to be available to Wenger, the Arsenal manager, although there is concern from Alisher Usmanov, the club’s second largest shareholder, at the wisdom of selling to one of their biggest rivals.

Wenger himself has admitted that City will challenge the established ‘Big Four’ next season but will look to reinvest in other players.

The chances of signing Real Madrid forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who is available for £16million, have increased now that Tottenham have bought Peter Crouch and Stuttgart could not reach agreement with the Dutch forward over his wages.

Fulham defender Brede Hangeland would also provide the imposing presence at centre-back that Arsenal lacked at important moments last season, although manager Roy Hodgson would be extremely reluctant to sell.

Wenger is prepared to let Philippe Senderos leave following his loan spell last season at AC Milan but will consider using Alex Song as a centre-back. Other options include William Gallas, Johan Djourou, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikael Silvestre.

The departure of Toure, 28, whom Wenger signed for just £150,000, represents the end of an era as he is the only member of the present squad to have been a regular in the ‘Invincible’ team of 2003-04.

Toure, though, handed in a transfer request in January and, despite playing regularly in the second half of last season, his relationship with Gallas was particularly strained.

“We have seven centre-backs and I am in the position where I have to play some in midfield, but of course Kolo is a very good player,” Wenger said.

“I am more focused on getting everybody fit for the start of the season but we are looking at opportunities as well. When the time comes we will do something.”

The addition of Toure will take City manager Mark Hughes’s spending this summer to almost £100million and his total outlay over the past year to about £200million.

It also represents some consolation for the failure to sign John Terry from Chelsea. Hughes still wants to add a centre-back and, despite having had one offer of £15million rejected, remains hopeful that a deal can be done for Everton’s Joleon Lescott.
Source : The Telegraph

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s official unveiling at Barcelona was delayed by two hours at the Nou Camp as the Spanish side was forced to wait for a fax from Inter Milan to officially confirm the move.

Zlatan is unveiled for the first time

Zlatan is unveiled for the first time

More than 55,000 fans had gathered in the club’s stadium and were left waiting while details over Samuel Eto’o’s move to Ibrahimovic’s old club Inter Milan were finalised.

Their frustration and excitment resulted in a pitch invasion which further delayed the Swede taking to the field in a full Barcelona strip for the first time wearing the number nine shirt.

When the 27-year-old finally emerged on the pitch, fans were seen charging towards him only to be held back by security.

The striker signed a five-year contract with Barcelona after passing a medical earier this week to complete the Euopean Champions’ most expensive transfer – understood to be 46 million euros. Contracted to the club until 2014, his contract is also said to have a 250 million euro buy out clause.
Eto’o will now join Inter as part of the deal, while Belarus midfielder Aleksandr Hleb will go on loan to the Italian club for one season.

Adamant he will prove himself worthy of becoming the club’s most expensive transfer, Ibrahimovic said: “I haven’t come to replace Eto’o because I’m a very different player. I’m going to work to the maximum to demonstrate you haven’t made a mistake in signing me.
“Thanks to Inter Milan for allowing me to sign for Barcelona. This is a very big day for me.”
Barcelona said Ibrahimovic has a broken finger on his left hand and will require surgery. The injury happened during Inter’s last friendly, against Chelsea in Los Angeles last week.
“It will require setting surgically, which will be done tomorrow at noon,” technical secretary Txiki Beguiristain said.

Ibrahimovic became Barcelona’s third signing this summer as part of coach Pep Guardiola’s bid to strengthen a team that last season won an unprecedented treble of Spanish, Champions League and Copa del Rey titles.
The other two new players are both from Brazil — Maxwell also moved from Inter, while Keirrison signed from Palmeiras.
(Source : the telegraph)

Jose Mourinho last night said he wants to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United.

The former Chelsea coach, who lifted last season’s Serie A title at Inter Milan, issued a come-and-getme plea to the Old Trafford hierarchy when Fergie retires.

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Mourinho, who last night exchanged striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o plus £40million and former Arsenal winger Alexander Hleb in the deal of the summer, said: “I would consider going to Manchester United. but United have to consider if they want me to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. If they do, then of course.

“I like England, where the fans are very passionate and make a game a beautiful occasion with such an incredible atmosphere.”

But ref lecting on his acrimonious departure from Chelsea in 2005 after two League titles, the Special One could not resist a dig.

He said: “I had many conversations before Chelsea and I decided on a divorce.

“It was difficult for me because we loved each other, but the relationship went in one direction and it was best for everyone.

“Since I left I became champion again but they have not been champions again. I keep winning and they don’t.”

Mourinho now has his sights set on bringing the Champions League to Inter – they last won Europe’s premier trophy way back in 1965.

He said: “I have a project in hand and I am very excited. When I went to Chelsea the big obsession was to win the Premier League after half a century.

“At Inter, winning the Italian League is very important but we have something else on our minds.”
Source : The Daily

John Terry has admitted he DID consider quitting Chelsea to join Manchester City.
JT pledged his future to Blues this past Sunday but he said: “Of course I thought about things, I was very flattered City wanted to sign me.
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“But when you get a call from your own club saying no matter what money they won’t sell you, it’s unbelievable. And to hear it from the owner himself – that’s the kind of relationship you can’t buy.

“You can’t put a price on things like that and all the lads and the staff were all around me.

“The manager as well, friends and family all know my situation. They know I love the club so much, and that side of things, so it’s never an issue.

“So it’s nice to be able to talk to friends and family and know you’ll get honest answers.”

Defender Terry, 28, insisted he did not put any pressure on the club to offer him an improved contract as a result of City’s interest.

But Chelsea have opened talks – and a new deal is expected to be signed within a week.

JT said: “That’s never been it. I’ve not come in and sat down with Peter Kenyon or Roman Abramovich to get a new contract.

“I’ve still got three years left on my deal and I’ve said from day one to Peter and anyone who’ll listen that this isn’t about a new contract for me.”
(Reference : The Sun)

Espn analysts discuss the topic of quality among the 15 clubs and future expansion
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QWEST FIELD - Home of the Seattle Sounders

Liverpool Football Club – which owes two banks £350m – has renegotiated its debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are believed to have extended the £290m RBS debt for another year, but agreed to pay back £60m.
Negotiations between RBS, Wachovia and the owners have been prolonged, with fears the banks may call in the loans.
Latest accounts show Kop Holdings, the parent company of the Anfield club, lost £42.6m in the year to August 2008.

Annual figures showed that interest payments accounted for £36.5m of those losses.

The owners have failed to find the money to build the club’s new stadium, with preliminary work on the Stanley Park venture halting during last season.
In June, Mr. Gillett agreed to sell one of his major assets – his 80% stake in the NHL’s Montreal ‘Canadiens’ ice hockey team – in a deal which would ease financial pressures at the Premier League club.
Meanwhile Mr. Hicks has been reportedly looking to sell off elements of his own sporting empire – which includes Major

League Baseball’s Texas Rangers and the NHL’s Dallas ‘Stars’.

Liverpool was put on the market last year with a reported asking price of about £500m, but no sale was finalized.
(BBC-SPORT)