Mackay plays it safe in presser as Guardian reports of Cardiff owner’s matchday interventions

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Embattled Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay refused to give reporters anything juicy at his press conference Friday ahead of Cardiff’s match with Chelsea.

Unfortunately, the cats continue to sprint out of the bag.

The Guardian is reporting that Cardiff owner Vincent Tan – already taking flak for his completely random sacking of recruitment chief Iain Moody – has been occasionally interfering with matchday operations, including sending his suggested substitutions and tactical changes in from the stands.

The report packs an additional punch with the whisperings that Tan knows next to nothing about the sport of soccer, and the Cardiff brass are well aware.

The Guardian cites a filmed conversation in Malaysia earlier this year between two executives of one of Tan’s pharmaceutical company.  Al Chuah, managing director of te company, said, “He doesn’t know any rules about football. He invested in pharmacy without realizing what drugs are all about.”

Tan has proven devoid of emotion when running his “business” at Cardiff.  Earlier this season, he changed the club’s color from blue to red, a move that caused much fan backlash due to the lack of respect for the club’s history.

Just last week, Tan out of nowhere fired the club’s chief of recruitment Ian Moody and filled the position with his son’s friend – someone who has zero prior experience in soccer.

This has caused massive tension between manager and owner, with many speculating Mackay could be out the door soon.

The manager defended his former colleague at Friday’s prematch press conference, saying he believes Moody’s £35 million ($56.6 million) spending spree this summer was actually under budget despite public suggestions by Tan that he was as much as £15 million ($24.2 million) over budget.

“Iain is an absolute class act as far as I am concerned” said Mackay. “He has done a very impressive job for the football club. In one of the periods of success, which we have been in over the last two and a half years, he has had a huge part to play in the restructuring of my squad. He helped bring in more than 20-odd players. He will be missed by everyone who works for our football club. He leaves with my utmost gratitude and respect. I would say our loss will be someone’s huge gain.”

However, Mackay refused to go any further into detail on the situation, even stopping short when the club’s press official twice intervened.  Mackay said on six different occasions during the presser that he wished to only discuss Cardiff’s upcoming match with Chelsea.

Finally, Mackay for now reiterated his intention to stick this one out. “As far as I am concerned, again for clarification, under no circumstances was I asked to resign and at no time have I thought of resigning from the football club” said Mackay.

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.