Romelu Lukaku has no issues with Jose Mourinho, will return to Chelsea

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There’s no problem between Romelu Lukaku and Jose Mourinho.

Since joining Everton on loan at the start of the season, speculation has surrounded the relationship between the striker and his parent club boss.

Things began to unravel a month ago when Lukaku noted that he hadn’t spoke to Mourinho since the season began and that he’d be up to continue his time at Everton.

Those comments sparked a backlash from Mourinho, who noted that he wasn’t aware on-loan players could decide their own future.

Now, the Belgium international insists there are no issues between he and Mourinho.

He squared the story away in a recent conversation with Sport Voetbal magazine.

“I’d first said I wanted to stay at Chelsea during the summer,” Lukaku said. “And then I felt I had to leave to play more. It was my goal to do better than last season.”

The Belgian elaborated. “[Mourinho] wanted me to stay and asked me why I wanted to leave. In some interviews my words were twisted, but the truth is that he accepted to let me leave. He did understand what I wanted. That’s what I really appreciate in him.”

Lukaku went on to make abundantly clear that he expects to be at Stamford Bridge next season. “Am I getting ready for Chelsea next season?,” he asked rhetorically. “Yes, why else would I have signed a contract for five years?”

Noting his appreciation for Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin Van Persie, Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski, Lukaku noted his goal to “return to Chelsea as one of the best strikers in the Premier League.”

Thus far Lukaku has scored eight goals in 13 appearances for Everton, not astounding numbers but good ones. More than anything his gargantuan presence up top has attracted a lot of attention from opposing defenses, opening up space for Everton’s attacking midfield to score goals.

Two points shy of leaders Liverpool, Everton will be keen on extending their 10 match league unbeaten streak.

Club World Cup wrap: Gremio reaches final, Urawa takes fifth place

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One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.

Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.

Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.

Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.

A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.

Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.

Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.

Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)

Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

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Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”