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Schalke Midfielder Julian Draxler Extends Contract

Schalke announced the extension of the contract of rising star Julian Draxler on truck-mounted panels driven through the city on Thursday.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is considered one of Germany's most promising players. Draxler extended his contract prematurely by two seasons until 2018.

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Alonso Optimistic he Can Close the Gap on Vettel

After a frustrating start to the season, Fernando Alonso retains high hopes of clawing back his 30-point gap on Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel starting at this week's Spanish Grand Prix.

The two-time world champion has drifted down to fourth place after four races. But the Spaniard feels that for the first time in years Ferrari has a car good enough to dictate the race to Red Bull, rather than waiting for opportunities and slip-ups from his main rival.

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Federer Loses to Nishikori at Madrid Open

The slippery blue clay may be gone, but the Madrid Open continues to produce surprises.

Second-ranked Roger Federer was ousted by Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in Thursday's third round, leaving Rafael Nadal as the either the clear front-runner for the title or the next big name who should be wary of an upset.

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Ronaldinho Boosts Chances of Making Confed Cup

Ronaldinho seems to be thriving again just at the right time.

The two-time world player of the year significantly increased his chances of making Brazil's squad for next month's Confederations Cup after a superb performance in the Copa Libertadores.

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Kuwait Launches Sports Clubs for Women

Muneera al-Shatti has loved playing basketball since she was a child but it wasn't until Thursday that she had chance to show off her skills at a public arena in Kuwait.

As part of a new initiative launching sports leagues for women, al-Shatti and her teammates from Salwa Al-Sabah club downed Qadsiya club 63-13 in a game that attracted several hundred men and female fans. The initiative to launch basketball, table tennis and athletic leagues for the first time in Kuwait illustrates how the landscape for women athletes is improving across the Persian Gulf where hard-liners have long opposed women playing sports.

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Everton Begins Search for Manager to Replace Moyes

As a theater and film producer, Bill Kenwright knows a story when he sees it.

In his other life, as chairman of English Premier League club Everton, he has experienced a pretty special one close up.

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Dusty Barcelona to Provide Crucial Title Clues

Formula One returns home this weekend for the first European race of the 2013 season with a familiar scenario unfolding amid hopes of an upset to match last year's unexpected dramas at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Defending triple world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who was victorious at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2011, leads the title race again, this time with 77 points and a 10-point margin ahead of second-placed rival Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and a 27-point advantage on

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Ferguson 'Brought Football to Asia', Say Fans

Asian fans from Singapore to Shanghai on Thursday praised Alex Ferguson's role in bringing Premier League football to the region's masses, after his shock retirement as Manchester United manager.

As the club's millions of Asian fans absorbed the news, splashed on front and back pages across the continent, they applauded Ferguson's regular visits and his signings of Park Ji-Sung and Shinji Kagawa.

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Rooney "Not for Sale", Say Man United

Manchester United reacted to rumors about Wayne Rooney's future at the club by insisting on Thursday that the England striker is "not for sale".

After Alex Ferguson announced his shock retirement as United manager on Wednesday, reports emerged that Rooney had informed the Scot of his desire to leave the club in an informal conversation two weeks ago.

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Leukaemia Sufferer Petrov Annonces Retirement

Aston Villa captain Stilyian Petrov, who is battling acute leukaemia, announced on Thursday he was retiring from football.

The 33-year-old Bulgaria international was diagnosed with the illness in March last year, forcing him to abruptly suspend his playing career.

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