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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Latest Chelsea News


United Nations Ambassador and Chelsea midfield maestro Michael Ballack has teamed up with Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor to fight AIDS.

It is World AIDS Day today (Monday, December 1) and the pair combined at Stamford Bridge recently to raise the profile of the campaign.

Ballack has worked with the UNAIDS campaign in his role as Goodwill Ambassador since 2006 to raise awareness on HIV prevention.

'I have been the ambassador for them for nearly two years now, they asked me and it has been a pleasure to work with them. It is a big honour and it is always good to do something in this kind of problem which everybody is involved in, and to make a statement and show that in my position as a famous football player I can help to make people understand more and think about this problem every day,' Ballack said.

'AIDS is still around and I think that we should all work together to help others. I am proud to a part of this campaign and happy that such a star like Emmanuel wants to help, as he is a big star in Africa', added the 32-year-old. 'The World Cup in 210 is in South Africa and it is a big thing, not just for young people but everybody.'

It is not the first time Ballack has been involved in advertising work, and he can be currently seen on 'Target Practice' in an adidas commercial. There have also been adverts for Samsung and others back home in Germany.

'Over the last few years I am used to it because in Germany there are a lot of commercials, so for five or six years it is something I have done. I dressed up as a mountaineer once with the national team,' he smiled. 'It was fun. It's all good fun, and in this case it is for a good cause.'

According to latest UNAIDS figures, there are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV in 2008 and 2.7 million new HIV infections. Sport plays an important role in empowering young people and is a key arena for raising awareness on AIDS.


Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is not expecting to make any major new signings during the January transfer window.

Talking at a press conference celebrating the four-year extension of our sponsorship deal with Thomas Cook, Kenyon spoke about his objectives for the new year and long-term aims for the Blues.

'Traditionally, we have never done a lot in January, and this January is no exception,' explained Kenyon.

'We have not finalised whether we will do anything or not, but it is all about what we want to do and whether those players available?

'Short term fixes won't really work for a club like Chelsea, so I think we'll see little or no activity, because the players we would want to bring into Chelsea for the long term probably aren't available. But it is only first December.

'He [Scolari] wants to work with 24-25 players and that's the squad we've got.

'We all have to recognise that six of the regular starters are not available, through injuries. We still have those players to come back.

'So I think from January onwards we will see a slightly strengthened Chelsea from within.'

Rather than signing new players, Chelsea's aim is to produce the next generation of footballers through our own Academy, with developments on that front as Miroslav Stoch made his first team debut against Arsenal yesterday.

'The Academy is and continues to be at the heart of our future development of Chelsea players,' continued Kenyon.

'We saw Stoch last night, and [Michael] Mancienne is out at Wolves as part of his development and our youth team played against Manchester United last week, and there were nine British boys in that group.

'This is about taking young boys and progressing them into the first team, in any club, that is a major achievement, at Chelsea you have to be that much bigger and that much better, so it is a long-term project.'

So with the current financial status resulting in companies tightening their belts globally, today's announcement is a refreshing break to the current national news agenda.

'There is so much doom-and-gloom around that not many people are expecting partnership/sponsorship deals to be done and we are delighted that we are able to announce that this morning,' said Kenyon.

'Clearly you are going to see us working closely with a few brands in exclusive categories and Thomas Cook, in travel, represents everything we are after.

'They are a top brand, clearly leading in their field, and they are international, which is exactly where we are.

'So for all sorts of reasons, on every level, we think this is a very good deal for both parties, and we are delighted to announce it now because it does buck the trend a little bit.'

Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa has been a Chelsea fan since coming to England at the age of 11, and, after following the Blues through thick-and-thin, understands the importance of being associated with the club.

'Thomas Cook is a global brand. We have businesses in 23 different countries, ranging from northern Europe all the way down to India, where we have the biggest travel company in India.

'The Premier League is well watched, well loved and talked about and for us to be associated with a leading brand like Chelsea, it just helps us to meet our business objectives, so it is a fantastic association.

'But at the heart of this particular deal is providing travel for Chelsea fans in the UK and overseas to watch Chelsea play wherever.

'That is whether they are playing away in the Premier League, where we provide Match Break tickets and of course Champions League and hopefully all the way to Rome next year,' added Fontenla-Novoa.


There was plenty of action at Cobham today as Luiz Felipe Scolari and his men put Sunday's defeat at Arsenal behind them.

The manager and his staff were out on the pitches at our Surrey training base, working with the players who did not start yesterday's match, going through a series of attacking routines and passing drills.

They were watched by Juliano Belletti, who is on the road back to recovery following his injury picked up against Burnley. The Brazilian utility man stepped up his work for the first time today, jogging around the field and keeping a close eye on his team-mates' work.

Inside the main building, those players that were involved from the kick-off worked on physical recovery either in the gym or the swimming pool.

After the workout, the players were greeted in the dining room by I S Kim, the president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe, who was there to meet some of the stars and hand out Christmas presents to the squad and staff.


The post mortem of Sunday's defeat at home to Arsenal is well underway. Salomon Kalou has given his thoughts to

The 23-year-old started on the right wing in the absence of Joe Cole and could have doubled our narrow lead in the first half, but for an offside flag raised against him.

It was a decision that he accepted at the time, but having had a second look, believes it wrongly cost us.

'I don't think I was offside, there was one ball and I was in and was onside, it should have been a goal normally. I ran that way across the line and curved my run. It's strange how a football game can go like that, from one way to another,' he said.

In the second half, things got worse as Arsenal equalised and then took the lead, benefiting from another offside call.

'Then they get the goal that was offside, I have seen it on TV, and it was big time offside,' Kalou said. 'I think we had a very good first half and Arsenal came back into the game after the goal.

'I think we didn't get the second goal and kill the game which didn't help, because they would have been done for, but they scored and got back into the game. For the second goal they won the header and when you don't win this first ball you have to win the second. We didn't win that and in front of goal it is too dangerous with Van Persie and Adebayor.

'I don't think it was a bad game from Chelsea. I think they managed to come back in the game and score two goals.'

We now have a midweek with no game, which allows Luiz Felipe Scolari to properly prepare his side for a visit to Bolton at the weekend, looking for an 11th straight away league win.

Kalou insists it is at Stamford Bridge where we must begin to show our best football again.

'We have to show how strong we can be even with losing games at home and dropping points,' he reasoned. 'We are still in front and we have a good balance in the team. Now we have to take more points at home if we want to be champions.'


It was a new Luiz Felipe Scolari who spoke following the 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal - a Luiz Felipe Scolari who most of all wanted to talk about the match officials.

Primarily it was the decisions of one linesman that occupied his thoughts having watched a 1-0 lead approaching an hour of the game gone turned rapidly into a deficit his shocked players could not retrieve.

'I have never spoken about the referee in 15 games in the Premier League, five games in the Champions League and others in the Carling Cup. I say nothing!

'But today it is different,' announced an agitated Chelsea manager.

'I want only that the referee and linesman tomorrow or after tomorrow look at the television and say sorry. Only this, no more, because they make mistakes and I understand. I don't want three points. I want only one time sorry.'

It was a decision to let Robin van Persie's equaliser go when replays suggested the Arsenal striker was offside by a notable distance that was the obvious source of Scolari's discontent. However he also highlighted decisions by the same official in the first half that had brought an end to Salomon Kalou attacks.

'The first half, the linesman made the same mistake but against us [attacking]. The second time, their first goal, big mistake against us, more than one metre offside. And my team after this lost concentration.

'Sure we did not play well. The first-half we played a normal game.

'I am not a coach to say anything about referees and in this league, many managers say about referees. And in the last five games we did not play well, we didn't shoot the ball as many times at goal as before and that is my and my players' mistake.

'But I lost today because one goal is not a goal. I don't think they came here to deliberately make two mistakes against us. I don't want to say anymore about the referee but tomorrow or after tomorrow, I listen for some words. Offsides killed my team.'

Having identified shortcomings in his own team as well as the controversial decisions, Scolari will attempt to remedy them with work on the training pitch, beginning with a look upwards following a goal conceded to a header in Bordeaux and Emmanuel Adebayor's aerial presence involved in both Arsenal goals.

'In England, many teams play with high balls and we need to win these balls,' he said, before reporting:

'Today now when they arrive in the dressing room, and when they look at the first goal, the players are very angry.

'After we say something, they discuss and say look, this is one goal that we received but we did not play well enough to win.

'They know this, they understand this. Now I need to say okay, finish this game, we lost three points and now I have one week to learn from this game. I put maybe the same team against Bolton because I don't have injuries from today which is very good.

'I try to work in this week better than the weeks before and we will try to arrive many times in front of goal, as when we played three, four or five weeks' ago.'

Looking at the wider title race, with one point taken from home matches against Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United, Scolari's message will be a simple one.

'I need to say to my players that when we play them away, we need to win. But first I need to work this week.'

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