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Monday, June 02, 2008

Latest Chelsea News

Late Ballack free-kick rescues Germany's preparation

Michael Ballack capped a strong performance by scoring a late winning goal for Germany to come from behind to beat Serbia 2-1 in their final warm-up game before Euro 2008, in Gelsenkirchen.
Germany, three-time winners of the European Championships, were behind for almost an hour against a defensive Serbia, who took the lead in the 19th minute with a goal from Bosko Jankovic.
Substitute Oliver Neuville equalised in the 74th minute, four minutes after coming on, before the captain sealed the victory from a free-kick in the 81st minute. 'He drives the entire team, he goads them on and he is in a very good physical shape,' Germany coach Joachim Loew said of his captain.
Favourites for the Championships, Germany were coming off a 2-2 draw with Belarus on Tuesday in Kaiserslautern, where they had squandered a two-goal lead, and appeared to be heading for another embarrassment against a team that did not qualify.
Watched by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany dominated the game for long periods and had most of the possession, but the crowded Serbia defence stifled their efforts.
Ballack, putting in a commanding display, had two chances in the first half. His first header was cleared off the line by Nemanja Vidic, his second stopped by the well-positioned Serbia goalkeeper, Vladimir Stojkovic.
Loew added a third striker, Lukas Podolski, at the start of the second half and he had a couple of efforts off target, before a Serbia counterattack nearly produced a second goal, when Jankovic hit the bar from close range.
Germany responded by stepping up the pressure, and were rewarded for their persistence when Neville scored after beating Ivica Dragutinovic to the ball to connect with a low cross from Marcell Jansen. Seven minutes later Jansen was brought down at the edge of the area by Branislav Ivanovic to set up the free-kick from which Ballack drove in a low, swerving shot around the wall.
Antonio Di Natale scored twice in the first half as Italy beat Belgium 3-1 on Friday in Florence in the Azzurri's only preparation match before heading to Austria and Switzerland. Di Natale scored in the ninth and 41st minutes and Mauro Camoranesi added the third in the 48th. 'He's been in great form and he showed it again tonight,' Italy coach Roberto Donadoni said of Di Natale. Substitute Wesley Sonck headed in off a corner for Belgium in the 90th minute.
Holland forward Ryan Babel has been ruled out of the Dutch squad for Euro 2008 after suffering an ankle injury in training on Saturday. Babel tore ankle ligaments during training in the Dutch village of Hoenderloo.

Chelsea to wait until after Euros to name new manager - June 01, 2008 Chelsea may delay their appointment of a new manager until after the European Championships.
The Daily Mail says Chelsea intend to interview every candidate on their shortlist before appointing their new manager, which could delay an announcement until after the European Championship.
While Stamford Bridge officials hope to take a significant step forward this week in their search, talk of a possible delay does point to Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari - given his reluctance to discuss the England job with the FA two years ago.

Chelsea holds clinic for Arab and Jewish children in Jaffa

Players from Chelsea Football Club of London ran a soccer clinic for over 120 Jewish and Arab children in Jaffa on Saturday. The clinic was one of the final events of Chelsea's trip to the Middle East, which also included a stopover in Amman.
"It's been eye-opening," said Simon Taylor, the club's spokesperson. "The welcome we've had in both Israel and Jordan has been absolutely incredible.
Taylor added that the trip's success is a testament to the value that football has beyond its attraction as a competitive sport. "You can look around today and see what a difference football makes in young people's lives," he said. "It's not just about winning and losing; it's about bringing people together, and that's something that should be celebrated.
"The kids practiced for several hours, during which time they did exercises and ran drills. Jewish and Arab children played together, which Taylor said was one of the clinic's main goals.
"Everybody's enjoying themselves," he said. "There are big smiles on their faces. The coaches are enjoying themselves as well."
Avraham Grant, Chelsea's former coach, who was fired by the club two weeks ago, made a brief appearance. Ben Sahar, an Israeli reserve for Chelsea who came on the trip, was not at the clinic on Thursday.
While this was the team's first trip to the Middle East, it comes following a similar trip to Ghana last year. Both trips are part of a wider initiative by Chelsea to use football to effect humanitarian improvement around the world.
"It's about providing football to people who very often may not get those opportunities to play with a club like Chelsea," said Taylor. "It highlights the benefits we can bring to communities and to people," he said. "What's apparent is the enjoyment that young people get from playing."
Danny, a Jewish child participating in the program, enjoyed both learning from the Chelsea players and playing with Arab children.
"It was fun," he said. "I know everyone here."
Chelsea coaches have also worked with their Israeli counterparts on football tactics and youth programming.
"We hope to learn from the Israeli coaches, to give them some tips, to learn as much as we have to teach," said Taylor.
"The coaches have been talking long into the night. We're really privileged to be here."
Regarding any future plans in the region, Taylor said that the team hopes to have a long-term connection with coaches so that they can conduct similar programs in the future.
"We need to establish relationships," said Taylor. "What we're hoping to do is give some technical advice to the coaches so they can go back into their communities and do well with their kids. I hope we'll be here in the future."

Exclusive: Chelsea offer Frank Lampard new £130,000-a-week deal

Frank Lampard has been offered a new £130,000- a-week contract by Chelsea.
The Stamford Bridge club made the offer in a desperate bid to keep the England midfielder.
The new deal would put the 29-year-old's pay on a par with
John Terry's, although the Chelsea captain has a longer contract.
Lampard, who has one year left on his current terms, is believed to have been offered a three-year deal after extensive talks in the wake of the Champions League Final.
Chelsea are determined to keep Lampard, who has stalled on a new contract for the past two years as he wants parity with the club's top earners and also fancies playing abroad.
Ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho - poised to take charge at Inter Milan - would love to sign him.
But the new deal is designed to keep Lampard at Stamford Bridge for the rest of his career - and it leaves him with a huge decision to make after being allowed to miss England's trip to Trinidad.
Lampard was touched by Chelsea's support and public reaction after the death of his mum Pat and that has made him think again about his future.
Meanwhile, Blues owner Roman Abramovich has stepped up his pursuit of Luiz Felipe Scolari to be the club's new boss.
Chelsea have already made discreet enquiries about the Portugal manager. The Brazilian has already been offered a £3million-a-year contract by Manchester City

Chelsea owner Abramovich keeping Terry informed over manager pursuit - June 01, 2008 Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is keeping skipper John Terry up-to-date on his pursuit of a new manager.

The News of the World says whoever Abramovich chooses, skipper Terry will be one of the first to know. The Russian and chief executive Peter Kenyon value Terry's opinion above all others and will sound him out as soon as possible.
While Terry will have no power of veto, he will be asked to give a frank view of the appointment and how it will be received in the dressing room.