JUNE 9 – SHORT CORNERS:INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS

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JUNE 9 – SHORT CORNERS:INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS

CHELSEA RE-SIGN ESSIEN, RELEASE BALLACK AND COLE

Michael Essien, recently ruled out of the World Cup for Ghana due to injury, has signed a new two-year extension that will keep him at Chelsea through 2015.

”I am delighted because the club has shown a very big confidence and interest in me,” said Essien.

”I am looking forward to coming back and enjoying my football and winning more trophies with the club. That is why I am here. I think it is one of the most important contracts in my career.”

In other Chelsea news, Joe Cole and Michael Ballack will leave Stamford Bridge when their contracts expire July 1, after the club balked at their wage demands.

33 year-old Ballack was working on a two-year extension, but Chelsea were only willing to offer the midfielder a one-year contract on reduced terms, which he rejected.

The German International is out of the World Cup with injury and is likely to return to Germany.

The 28 year-old Cole, who had indicated that he wouldn’t decide his future until after the World Cup, will definitely not be playing for Chelsea next season.

Cole, a fan favorite at Stamford Bridge, had been working to secure a deal in excess of $140,000 a week, but Carlo Ancelotti could not convince the Chelsea board.

No deal has been struck between Cole and another club, according to sources close to the midfielder, although he has been free to talk to clubs since January.

NANI OUT OF THE WORLD CUP

Portugal winger Nani has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering an injury to his collar bone in training Friday.

The 23-year-old Manchester United midfielder scored 3 goals in 11 appearances during qualifying and is coming off a good season at Old Trafford.

“After tests we conclude he is unfit to participate in the World Cup,” said a team statement.

INESTA INJURY CONCERN FOR SPAIN AS TORRES RETURNS

Spanish playmaker Andres Iniesta came off the pitch with a muscle strain in the 39th minute of a World Cup tune-up against Poland on Tuesday. The extent of the injury is not yet known, but Manager Vincente del Bosque is hoping for the best.

“He felt a little strain in his leg but we hope it’s nothing,” said del Bosque.

In more positive news for the tournament favorites, Fernando Torres came on in the second half of the 6-0 thrashing of the Poles in Murcia, his first action since having surgery on his right knee in April. Torres scored in the 76th minute to cap his return.

“The injury has passed and now I’m able to help my team-mates, so it’s time to enjoy it,” said the Liverpool forward.

WORLD CUP INJURY UPDATE

Bayern Munich forward Arjen Robben has been ruled out of the Netherlands opener against Denmark, but still hopes to play in the tournament.

“It is illusory to believe that he will be ready to face Denmark. Whatever one may say, his injury is serious and I do not know when he can join us.” Coach Bert van Marwijk said. “The team’s goal now is to go as far as possible in the competition to allow Arjen to play with us during this World Cup.”

Ivory Coast talisman Didier Drogba’s successful surgery on his broken arm are being described as very encouraging by the Elephants camp. The current African Player of the year is not likely to participate in the Group G opener against Portugal on June 15.

Andrea Pirlo is targeting Italy’s third group stage match against Slovakia. The 31-year-old midfielder, described as “irreplaceable” by Italy boss Marcello Lippi, is set to miss the Azzurri’s first two matches after suffering a calf injury in a friendly last week against Mexico.

CITY RELEASE THREE

Manchester City have released Martin Petrov, Benjani Mwaruwari  and Sylvinho after not renewing their contracts.

31-year-old Petrov suffered through injuries and was vocally opposed to decisions of former manager Mark Hughes last season.

Zimbabwean striker Benjani, who was sent on loan to Sunderland in February, was getting limited minutes.

35-year old former Arsenal and Barcelona defender Sylvinho, joined the club on a one-year deal last summer but never made an impact at City of Manchester Stadium.

ADRIANO MOVES TO ROMA

Adriano will be unveiled as the Roma’s latest signing on Wednesday

28-year-old Adriano became a free agent this summer after his deal with Brazilian club Flamengo expired.

The striker scored 48 goals in 123 appearances at Inter Milan, before he returned to Brazil in 2009 due to personal problems.

HUNTELAAR TO STAY AT MILAN

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has ruled out a departure from AC Milan this summer.

Huntelaar, currently in South Africa with the Netherlands ahead of the World Cup, has been the subject of many transfer rumors, the latest being Tottenham Hotspur.

“I see my name in the Italian newspapers and I don’t understand why,” Huntelaar said. “I would like to know who has said that I will be sold, because it doesn’t seem like anyone from the club has said anything.

“No other club interests me: my agent has never spoken about a transfer and I want to stay at Milan. I will not leave Milan until I have demonstrated my worth.”

Many fans at the San Siro will feel that 7 goals in 25 appearances would be enough to do just that.

SENDEROS SIGNS FOR FULHAM

Fulham have signed Swiss defender Philippe Senderos  on a three-year deal from Arsenal.

Senderos had been a long-standing servant at Arsenal, having signed with the North London club in 2003.

The 25-year-old, currently training with Switzerland ahead of the World Cup, will be looking for a new lease on life at Craven Cottage, as his minutes fell off at the Emirates and spent the last two seasons on loan at Milan and Everton.

“I’m delighted to have finalized my transfer to Fulham earlier today (Tuesday) and happy that I am joining the club during the most successful period in its history,” Senderos told the club’s official website.

“Philippe is a player that I have admired for a very long time since he captained Switzerland to the UEFA Under-17 Championship in 2002,” Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said.

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