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Majestic Messi Hits Four as Barca Rout Valencia

Lionel Messi hit four goals to inspire Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Valencia, but the champions still remain 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid.

Messi, playing his 200th game for the club, took his league goals tally to 27 for the season and 42 in all competitions although third-placed Valencia had stunned the Spanish and European champions by taking a shock early lead.

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NBA: Like Yao, Lin's success rubs some the wrong way

The same racial stereotypes that dogged Yao Ming early in his National Basketball Association career are now being cast upon Harvard educated, New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin.

American sports network ESPN was forced to apologize Saturday for an anti-Asian slur directed at Chinese-American Lin that appeared in a story about the point guard following the Knicks 89-85 loss on Friday night.

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Roman Backs Me, Says Villas-Boas as Chelsea Held

Andre Villas-Boas insists he still has the full backing of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich despite his side's recent slump.

The pressure on Villas-Boas's position increased when his side were unable to overcome Championship club Birmingham City in the FA Cup fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge.

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High Hopes for China's New Recruit Anelka

Shanghai Shenhua are hoping new signing Nicolas Anelka can revolutionize Chinese football, but he will first have to find his feet in a country where foreign players have struggled to settle.

The former Chelsea striker -- the Chinese league's most high-profile signing to date -- follows in the footsteps of a slew of foreign imports to China including Paul Gascoigne, Hamilton Ricard, Carsten Jacker and Paul Rideout.

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Bayern Mystified by Draw at Rock-Bottom Freiburg

Bayern Munich's director of sport Christian Nerlinger admitted he was "mystified" by his team's first-half performance in the goalless draw at bottom side Freiburg which saw them slip to third in the German league.

Even Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said Bayern's performance in the opening 45 minutes was "sluggish" as the Bavarian giants came off second best to a spirited Freiburg team who are threatened with relegation.

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Clouds Gather over Wenger's Arsenal Future

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger remained defiant despite facing further questions about his future in the wake of their 2-0 defeat at Sunderland in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The club are now heading towards their seventh season without a trophy, but Wenger told his critics: "We will stay united, fight, and focus on the next game. It is important for us to show strength and resilience."

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Klitschko Retains WBC Heavyweight Title

Vitali Klitschko unanimously out-pointed Dereck Chisora for a 10th successive defense of his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title in a stormy clash at the Olympiahalle on Saturday.

After being slapped by Briton Chisora at Friday’s weigh-in, Ukrainian Klitschko got revenge over his provocative challenger but he spent a lot of the fight on the back foot before earning scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 119-111 from the judges.

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Real Madrid Go 13 Points Clear

Real Madrid went 13 points clear of Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday as Karim Benzema grabbed a double in a 4-0 win over 10-man Racing Santander.

Jose Mourinho’s men have given Barca little margin for error having now won 18 of the last 19 games since they drew 0-0 at Santander at the end of September.

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Obama to Ali: 'You Shocked the World'

President Barack Obama lauded Muhammad Ali Saturday as he joined a host of celebrities in offering birthday wishes to the boxer known simply as "The Greatest."

"Happy birthday, champ," Obama told Ali through a video message, saying he wished he could have attended the swanky dinner gala in Las Vegas featuring some of the biggest names in sports, film, television and music.

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Ibrahimovic Urges Van Persie to Quit Arsenal

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Saturday urged Arsenal captain Robin van Persie to jump ship if he wants to win anything.

Van Persie's side were thrashed 4-0 by Ibrahimovic's Milan in the San Siro on Wednesday, to effectively end the London club's Champions League hopes.

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