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FIFA Upholds Barcelona Transfer Ban

Barcelona will not be able to sign any new players until January 2016 after world football's governing body FIFA rejected an appeal over a transfer ban imposed for breaching rules on underage players.

The Catalan giants will be banned from the national and international market for two consecutive transfer windows, starting in January 2015, FIFA said.

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Modric Extends Real Contract until 2018

Croatia midfielder Luka Modric reinforced his commitment to Real Madrid on Wednesday by signing a four-season contract extension through June 2018 with the club.

Modric, who joined Madrid in August 2012 from English Premier League club Tottenham in a deal worth a reported 35 million euros ($44 million), won the UEFA Champions League with the La Liga club last season.

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Reality Check for Phelps at Pan Pacific Champs

Michael Phelps received an abrupt reminder of how challenging his return to international competition may be when he was asked whether he was good enough to even reach a final at the Pan Pacific Championships starting Thursday.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever and on the comeback trail from a short-lived retirement, took a deep breath before responding to the question on Wednesday and said: "Wow, you're really setting the bar high for me!"

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17 NRL Players Get Notices over Banned Supplements

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority began issuing notices Wednesday to 17 current and former National Rugby League players from the Cronulla Sharks over the use of illegal supplements during the 2011 season.

ASADA said in a statement that the "show cause" notices were issued in relation to the use of prohibited substances CJC-1295 and GHRP-6, both growth-stimulating peptides banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, based on evidence collected during a 16-month investigation.

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Real Madrid Draws 1-1 with Atletico in Super Cup

James Rodriguez scored in his Spanish debut as Real Madrid earned a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Super Cup on Tuesday.

Rodriguez came on for Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu and found the back of the net in the 80th minute after he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area following an attempt by Benzema.

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Champions League: Arsenal Held, Leverkusen Wins

Arsenal held on with 10 men to draw 0-0 at Besiktas in the Champions League playoff round Tuesday, while Bayer Leverkusen is better placed to reach the group stage after winning 3-2 at FC Copenhagen.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was sent off with 10 minutes left in the first leg match in Istanbul after being shown a second yellow card for tugging Oguzhan Ozyakup's shirt.

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Brazil Goalkeeper Julio Cesar Joins Benfica

Benfica announced Tuesday that it has signed Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar from English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers on a two-year deal.

The 34-year-old Cesar had been on loan to Toronto FC in Major League Soccer since February after playing only occasionally under Rangers coach Harry Redknapp.

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Dunga Rings Changes in First Brazil Squad

New Brazil coach Dunga announced the first squad of his second spell in charge of the Selecao on Tuesday, with only 10 of those who featured at the World Cup making the cut.

After the traumatic semi-final exit from the World Cup at the semi-final stage to Germany last month, Brazil parted company with Luiz Felipe Scolari and brought back Dunga, the coach of the team at the 2010 World Cup.

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Risks and Rewards for Barcelona in Spanish League

Aligning Luis Suarez with Lionel Messi and Neymar to spear Barcelona's attack looks like a winning formula, if the three can set aside their problems and possible distractions.

The club has turned to former midfielder Luis Enrique, known for his forthright approach, to lead the rebuilding project that will likely have its unique set of challenges.

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Atletico Quietly Retools to Defend Spanish Title

It's rare for a champion not to even qualify as a candidate to defend its title. But Atletico Madrid must be considered a long shot to hold onto its Spanish league crown after losing several players while Real Madrid and Barcelona both bolstered their already spectacular squads.

In Atletico's favor is coach Diego Simeone, the man who proved to be a master at the art of forging a team that is more than a collection of its parts.

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