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Webber on Top in Final Practice

Australian Mark Webber had good reason to smile on Saturday morning after he topped the times in final free practice ahead of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was not only the fastest man around the spectacular and challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit in cold and wet conditions, but did so on his 35th birthday when it was confirmed he had signed a contract extension for 2012.

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Asian Football Struggles to Shed off-Field Malaise

The motto of the Asian Football Confederation is 'The Future is Asia', yet a series of recent controversies indicate the game seems unable to shake off its unhappy history of corruption, bribery and political interference across the continent.

Asian football may be making great strides in some areas — luring top quality players — but the problems off the pitch remain as a brake on development, with Syria's expulsion from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers being yet another example.

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Formula One's Alonso Salutes Schumacher

Two-times world champion Fernando Alonso has defended old rival Michael Schumacher's decision to return to Formula One -- despite the former 'red baron's' disappointing results with the Mercedes team.

Spaniard Alonso enjoyed a close rivalry with Schumacher when the now 42-year-old German driver was close to the end of his long and successful spell with Ferrari and he was rising to fame and success with Renault.

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Platini Voices Fear for European Football's Future

UEFA President Michel Platini is warning of "red lights flashing" across Europe because of football's financial problems.

Platini confessed on Friday to fearing for the future of professional football because of clubs going bankrupt and running up debts, and players going on strike in Spain and Italy.

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Nadal Says Djokovic Deserves Top Billing Right Now

As the U.S. Open approaches, the tennis world is focusing on Novak Djokovic and his remarkable season — and rightly so, according to the man he replaced at No. 1, Rafael Nadal.

"He deserves it," Nadal said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press after attending the tournament draw.

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Senna Replaces Heidfeld at Spa

Bruno Senna will replace Nick Heidfeld in the Renault line-up at Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, driving alongside Russia's Vitaly Petrov, the team announced on Wednesday.

"Lotus-Renault are happy to announce that Bruno Senna will race at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend," said a statement.

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Bolt Plays Down Soaring Expectations

Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt on Thursday played down soaring expectations at the world championships in his "comeback season", insisting he still has work to do to become a legend.

The defending Olympic and world champion in the 100m and 200m, speaking two days before he launches his bid for glory in South Korea, said breaking his own world records was unlikely as he makes his way back from injury.

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Eto'o Signs 3-Year Deal with Russia's Anzhi

Cameroon star Samuel Eto'o was due in Moscow on Thursday after signing a three-year deal with Russia's new big spenders Anzhi Makhachkala that will reportedly be the most valuable contract in football.

"This evening, Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o signed a personal three-year contract with Anzhi Makhachkala," the club said in a statement issued after Eto'o completed a medical on Wednesday evening.

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Spanish League 'Optimistic' of Ending Strike

Spain's football league said on Thursday it is "optimistic" of reaching a deal to end a players' strike after marathon talks stretching into the early morning.

The strike over unpaid players' wages delayed the start to the lucrative Liga -- the first delay to the season in 27 years -- and now clubs are trying to stop the action spreading to a second match day.

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Real Fans and Players Back Mourinho Over Eye-Poke

Real Madrid fans and players have showered down messages of support for coach Jose Mourinho as he faces an inquiry for jabbing his finger into a rival's eye.

Mourinho's eye-poke in the final moments of Real Madrid's Super Cup loss to Barcelona on August 17 made front pages and led the Spanish Football Federation to open a disciplinary inquiry.

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