Sport Everton midfielder Ross Barkley will be offered a new improved contract for his breakthrough into the first team this season

Barkley has broken into the first-team this season and has been tipped for inclusion in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad after making his England debut in September

Leverkusen confirm interest in Ballack

Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed their interest in signing Michael Ballack after he was released by Chelsea earlier this week.

Ballack blames Abramovich for Chelsea exit

Michael Ballack has claimed the decision to release him was made by Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea agree deal to keep Anelka until 2013

Chelsea are to follow their decision to release both Joe Cole and Michael Ballack by announcing that they have agreed a two-year contract extension with striker Nicolas Anelka.

Belletti joins Chelsea exodus

Defender Juliano Belletti will join Joe Cole and Michael Ballack in leaving Chelsea this summer, the club have confirmed.

Chelsea confirm Ballack and Cole will leave

Chelsea have today confirmed midfield duo Joe Cole and Michael Ballack will leave the club this summer.

Chelsea let Joe Cole walk away

Ancelotti happy for England star to leave after demand for £30,000-a-week pay rise. Ballack also released on a free transfer

Group D: Australia, Germany, Ghana, Serbia

Our unmissable guide to the World Cup: Injuries leave Germans vulnerable

Löw puts on a brave face after spate of injuries

German coach Joachim Löw insisted yesterday that his squad would go into the World Cup in top form and good heart despite suffering a cruel string of injuries which has ruled out several first-choice players.

<b>RONALDINHO </b><br/><br/>
<b>Age:</b> 30<br/>
<b>Club:</b> AC Milan<br/>
<b>Country:</b> Brazil<br/>
Brazil coach Dunga has shocked some and disappointed many with the omission of Ronaldinho, a player who has twice won the Fifa World Player of the Year award. Despite his appearance in Nike's Write the Future World Cup adverts, Ronaldinho only made the standby list.<br/>
Ronaldinho started all five of Brazil's games in the last World Cup but after poor form and lack of fitness for almost three years, his World Cup dream has been halted as Dunga lost patience. <br/>
Critics of Dunga point to the international record of Ronaldinho who has 87 caps and scored 32 goals as a reason for his inclusion to the squad. Ronaldinho's club form has improved this season as he scored 12 league goals for AC Milan under the guidance of former Brazil star Leonardo.<br/>
Dunga explained his judgement:

World Cup Watch: High profile rejects

In anticipation of the World Cup, The Independent will be running down the key people and factors to keep an eye out for in South Africa with our World Cup Watch series.

World Cup Countdown: Returning Torres boosts Spanish hopes

Spain striker Fernando Torres has trained for the first time since undergoing a knee operation on 18 April and should make a full recovery in time for the finals. The 26-year-old Liverpool player joined Vicente del Bosque's squad in light training yesterday, featuring in a half-hour practice match. His return was a boost for the whole team, defender Gerard Piqué said. "Fernando is an important player for us and hopefully he can be ready for the first World Cup match."

Ballack's replacement pleads for patience from German fans

Germany midfielder Sami Khedira does not want to be compared with Michael Ballack, the man he is set to replace at the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

World Cup Countdown: No Frings to replace Ballack

23 days to go
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most