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Ballack Broods Over Germany Dismissal

Michael Ballack, Germany's long-serving captain who was unceremoniously dumped last week by national trainer Joachim Loew, is angrily refusing to go away quietly.

"It was clearly and unambiguously agreed by both sides that I would be able to announce calmly my decision to retire (from international football) during the summer break," the 34-year-old midfielder said in a statement issued on Sunday.

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Three in Court Over Rooney Blackmail Plot

Three people appeared in a British court on Monday accused of trying to blackmail Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen for £5,000 ($8,100, 5,700 Euros).

Lee Platt, 28, Jennifer Green, 25, and Steven Malcolm, 42, were charged with blackmail and handling stolen goods during a brief hearing at a court in Manchester, northwest England.

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Alonso Defiant That Title Bid is Still Alive

Two-times world champion Fernando Alonso heads home for the European Grand Prix next week still believing he has a chance of derailing runaway leader Sebastian Vettel's charge towards a second drivers' world championship.

Ferrari's 29-year-old Iberian ace has conceded that his prospects for a third title are not bright, but remains adamant that he will not give up hope until he is mathematically ruled out of contention.

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Murray Unfazed by Pressure to Win Wimbledon

Andy Murray insists he can cope with the pressure of being Britain's only hope of ending 75 years of hurt in the men's singles at Wimbledon.

It would be understandable if Murray looked a little burdened when he launches his title campaign at the All England Club as the Scot will be carrying the weight of a nation's expectations on his shoulders.

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McLeish Appointed Villa Manager

Alex McLeish vowed to win over Aston Villa's supporters on Friday after being confirmed as the Premier League club's new manager following days of angry protests by fans.

Villa confirmed in a statement they had appointed McLeish with immediate effect just five days after the 52-year-old Scot resigned from bitter local rivals Birmingham City, who were relegated last month.

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Li Seeks Double Happiness at Wimbledon

China's Li Na rewrote the record books by winning the French Open, and the overnight Asian superstar can cement her place among the game's elite by sealing back-to-back Slams at Wimbledon.

The unassuming Li, 29, has been characteristically candid on her chances at the All England Club, where she is a two-time quarter-finalist and a leading title hope among yet another wide-open women's field.

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Ballack's Germany Career Over, Loew Says

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack's international career is over, the national football federation said Thursday after talks between coach Joachim Loew with the ex-Chelsea midfielder.

"Michael Ballack will no longer be a part of the German national squad," the DfB said in a statement.

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Ankle Problem Flares Again for Clijsters

U.S. and Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters' build-up to Wimbledon suffered a huge blow on Tuesday as she appeared to have re-injured her troublesome right ankle.

The 27-year-old Belgian looked to have injured her ankle during a shock 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 humbling by Italian qualifier Romina Oprandi in the second round of the WTA tournament here and could hinder her chances at Wimbledon, which gets underway next week.

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Olympics: S.African Sports Minister Still Wants 2020 Bid

South Africa's sport minister said Tuesday he still wants the country to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games despite a cabinet decision last month to instead spend money on services for the poor.

Fikile Mbalula said he hopes to convince his colleagues in President Jacob Zuma's cabinet to revisit plans for an Olympic bid, which the government vetoed after estimating it would cost $50 million.

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McLeish Resigns as Birmingham Manager

Alex McLeish resigned as the manager of Birmingham City on Sunday following their relegation from the Premier League, with the club saying he had told acting chairman Peter Pannu in an e-mail he was leaving the Midlands side.

"Birmingham City Football Club can confirm Alex McLeish has resigned as manager," said a statement on the club's website.

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