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Mourinho accepts ‘king of coaching’ compliment ahead of Carvalhal meeting

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Jose Mourinho and Carlos Carvalhal talk often, but the Swansea City manager made headlines when he heaped praise on his Portuguese peer.

Carvalhal called Mourinho “our king of football” on Friday, relishing the chance to match wits with his friend at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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“He is the best manager ever for Porto,” Mourinho said. “He opened the doors for the new generation of managers to go abroad. He opened the ideas of the world on Portuguese coaches.”

Mourinho acknowledged the compliment, though he dropped the acclaim just a peg.

“I spoke with him last night – he said I was the king of the coaches, not the king of football,” the United boss said. “And he said that since my winning period with Porto, and since the moment I left the country, I opened the door for more Portuguese coaches to leave, which is something that I know is true. But I speak with Carlos a couple of times every week. This week was not different. So last night we spoke a little and I thanked him for his nice words because one thing is to think, and one thing is to say.”

Mourinho is nearly three years Carvalhal’s senior, but both took their first managerial steps domestically in 2000.

Carvalhal knows Swansea is a heavy underdog on the weekend, though he’s handling the opportunity with what’s becoming a staple of his managerial game: Quips!

“But there are two things: I have never lost against him or at Old Trafford, because it is the first time I will play him or play there, so it is a good record!

Sculptor of infamous Ronaldo bust takes second chance at CR7

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“Photos,” ProSoccerTalk’s headline began, “Bizarre Cristiano Ronaldo statue unveiled.”

And the adjective choice was a kind one.

It was exactly one year ago Thursday when a busy of Ronaldo’s face was unveiled at the airport on his home island of Madeira, Portugal, bringing a great deal of jokes.

[ MORE: #AskJPW on Chelsea job, relegation scrap ]

It didn’t look the Ronaldo. How did this get approved, and unveiled? And did Ronaldo see it first?

A year later, Kelly Naqi of Bleacher Report gave the sculptor (video link) some time on camera. It turns out Ronaldo had approved the bust, but sculptor Emanuel Jorge da Silva Santos has been tortured by immense ridicule since the unveiling anyway.

Recollecting the events of last March had the sculptor on the verge of his tears and his wife freely crying as they discussed their fears that their 5-year-old son would be bullied (he mercifully was not) on account of the sculpture.

The story wasn’t strictly about reliving the past, but rather giving Santos a shot at redemption. The sculptor from Ronaldo’s home island was given the option of having a second go at making a Ronaldo bust. He did, and it went better.

Why did he accept the challenge-slash-opportunity?

“One day,” he says, “I want my son to understand that if he enjoys doing something very much, [he] doesn’t let himself be defeated with negative criticism. Sooner or later, if we believe in ourselves and are persistent, we can succeed in life. Even though his father never had a degree, isn’t a teacher or a doctor [and comes] from a poor family, he was able to make something of himself in this world.”

It’s got those Julius Caesar eyes, but far be it from us to criticize the effort.

Int’l roundup: Depay, Van Dijk lead Holland past Portugal and more

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Only two matches on Monday involved countries heading to Russia this summer, but each fixture featured exciting action.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal received a 3-0 hammering from Holland at the Stade de Genève, behind goals from Memphis Depay, Ryan Babel and Virgil Van Dijk.

[ MORE: MetLife Stadium would host 2026 World Cup if United bid wins ]

The Portuguese fell behind after 11 minutes, when Depay led a brilliant attack for the Dutch. The lead soon doubled just beyond the half-hour mark as Babel’s sliding effort found its way past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Liverpool defender Van Dijk capped off the scoring on the stroke of halftime with a strong strike inside the Portuguese area following a free kick for the Dutch.

The fate of the hosts was sealed in the 61st minute, when defender João Cancelo received his second yellow card in less than 20 minutes, and was sent off.

Meanwhile, Edinson Cavani’s second-half strike helped Uruguay top Wales with a 1-0 victory on the road.

The South American side was outmatched for much of the fixture, with Gareth Bale and Wales looking the more dominant side, but the PSG star found the back of the net four minutes into the second stanza after Cristian Rodríguez picked out the veteran striker — who was positioned close to goal.

Int’l friendlies: Lingard guides England; Colombia tops France

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A roundup of Friday’s international friendlies….

England suffered an early setback in Holland after Joe Gomez limped off the pitch with an injury. However, the Three Lions bounced back with a 1-0 victory when Jesse Lingard struck after halftime.

[ MORE: USMNT reveals new kits ahead of Paraguay friendly ]

A drastic second-half turnaround for Colombia gave the South American side a 3-2 victory over France. Olivier Giroud and Thomas Lemar had Les Bleus out in front in the first half with a 2-0 lead, but the Colombians responded with three unanswered finishes to grab the win.

Mohamed Salah‘s second-half strike wasn’t enough to pace Egypt due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late brace for Portugal (his 80th and 81st international goals), while Victor Moses‘ penalty kick helped Nigeria top Poland.

Meanwhile, Brazil picked up a convincing 3-0 win over this summer’s hosts Russia. Barcelona teammates Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho each scored in the second half, after Miranda opened the scoring for the Selecao.

Germany and Spain settled for an exciting 1-1 draw, while Argentina topped Italy, 2-0, without Lionel Messi or Sergio Aguero in the lineup.

Below are all the scores from today’s friendlies involving teams that will play in Russia this summer.

Portugal 2-1 Egypt
Argentina 2-0 Italy
Germany 1-1 Spain
Netherlands 0-1 England
Poland 0-1 Nigeria
Scotland 0-1 Costa Rica
France 2-3 Colombia
Uruguay 2-0 Czech Republic
Japan 1-1 Mali
Russia 0-3 Brazil
Saudi Arabia 1-1 Ukraine
Greece 0-1 Switzerland
Tunisia 1-0 Iran
Serbia 1-2 Morocco
Peru vs. Croatia — 8:30 p.m. ET
Mexico vs. Iceland — 10 p.m. ET

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.