Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas “not friends” as Tottenham vs. Chelsea looms

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It has been a relationship that has spanned three different clubs, in three different countries for almost 10 years.

But now, it’s all but over.

“I don’t lose any sleep,” Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. “We had a great personal and professional relationship before. We don’t have that now.”

As for Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea boss shrugged of questions about his relationship with AVB ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash (7:45am ET, live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) but insinuated that Spurs’ manager had been childish.

“I don’t discuss this with the media. It’s a personal thing. I don’t care what he says. I’m not here to do that. I’m not interested,” Mourinho said. “I am not a kid – if I have a problem with someone I go upstairs, we speak and we have lunch.”

(MORE: Preview – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea)

So, just how did two coaches, who many believe are so alike in terms of style, tactics, personality and upbringing, drift so far apart after working together for many years?

It’s certainly a head scratcher. But somewhere along the line there came an impasse, where Mourinho went one way and AVB went the other.

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Jose Mourinho vs. Andre Villas-Boas… who will come out on top?

The latter believed his expertise was enough to be Mourinho’s assistant manger instead of a scout and coach, which was the role he worked in for the ‘Special One’ at FC Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. But it was after Inter’s Champions League win of 2010, that AVB decided enough was enough and went out into the managerial wilderness on his own.

In his first season as a manager Villas-Boas went unbeaten with Porto, winning the Portuguese League, Cup and Europa League, before getting the Chelsea job. That didn’t go too well, as we know, but over the last 18-months at Tottenham, the 35-year-old Portuguese manager has rekindled the promise many thought had disappeared.

But AVB still refers to his split with Mourinho, from a professional standpoint, as a monumental moment in his own career.

“Our break-up point was because I was full of ambition to give him something extra and I wanted further involvement from the job I was doing at that time,” AVB said. “I felt I could give him much more. But he didn’t feel the need for somebody near to him or in another position as an assistant, and because of that it was decided that it was time, after Inter Milan, to continue our careers apart.”

Mourinho spent the last three seasons at Real Madrid, winning La Liga once and failing in the Champions League, and his path and that of Villas-Boas’ never crossed… until now. The two fiery Portuguese coaches, who were once so close, are now enemies as both Tottenham and Chelsea aim to challenge for the Premier League title this season.

Everything is set up for a tremendous battle on the pitch at White Hart Lane on Saturday. But plenty of people will be keeping an eye on two old friends in the technical area, as the master and his apprentice do battle for the very first time.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.