Tom Cruise hearts soccer, visits two Brazil soccer institutions

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Let’s get past all the Scientology weirdness for a second where Tom Cruise is concerned. When a Hollywood institution makes a little time for soccer, we’ll cut the man some slack.

Cruise, promoting his latest movie in Brazil, just took some time to visit the famed Maracana Stadium and meet former Brazilian ace Zico. Cruise is promoting the Sci-fi flick “Oblivion.”

(He was in Buenos Aires a day before storming Rio de Janeiro with his lovely co-stars, and he’s in Moscow today. The soccer smarties will recognize all those places as past or future World Cup finals sites. Clearly, that’s not why Cruise’s handlers have selected these spots … just sayin’.)

Cruise has been a friend to soccer before – or at least a friend to one of the game’s marquee figures. Cruise was a frequent visitor to the Home Depot Center during the David Beckham years in sunny So-Cal; the two were friends from the time Beckham landed in L.A. to play for the Galaxy in 2007.

After meeting with Zico, Cruise told Globo TV he would message Beckham about meeting the Brazilian star and visiting the famed ground (site of the 1950 World Cup final), saying the former England captain and current Paris Saint Germain midfielder would be jealous for it all.

The Maracana, the heart of Rio de Janeiro soccer, is being renovated for its major role at next year’s World Cup. The huge facility will host seven matches (most of all venues next summer), including the World Cup final on July 13, 2014.

As for Zico: his managerial career never reached the same heights, but as a creator extraordinaire back in the day, he was one bad, bad man. Watch Zico at his playmaking best in a match against New Zealand at the 1982 World Cup.

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Scenes from around the UCL final

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We’re just hours away from kickoff in Kiev, Ukraine, and the streets are lined with football supporters ahead of the year’s biggest club final.

Liverpool and Real Madrid will meet at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Saturday, as the latter aims for its fourth UEFA Champions League crown in five seasons.

Let’s take a look at the sights around Ukraine and abroad ahead of the UCL final.


Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox took to Twitter to show their support for the Reds, with both teams owned by John Henry.

Los Blancos go for an unprecedented fourth UCL title in five years, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. aim to assert their dominance once again.

Reds legend John Arne Riise took part in Liverpool’s last UCL title in 2004/05, and holds the giant piece of silverware once again.

Supporters from both sides are out in full force in Kiev, with the Reds hoping to spoil yet another UCL triumph for Madrid.

Supporters all over the world will have their eyes on the most important club competition in football, with the Champions League hosting viewing parties in Shanghai, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Report: Napoli’s Sarri in as next Chelsea manager?

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Antonio Conte hasn’t been relieved of his managerial duties at Stamford Bridge; at least not yet, however, reports out of Italy are suggesting the Blues are in line for a new boss.

Gazzetta del Sport is reporting that Chelsea is preparing to hire Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, who remains under contract with the Serie A side.

The report says that Sarri is preparing his staff to make the move to London, although both managers are currently tied to their clubs.

Additionally, Sky Italy has stated that an agreement in principle has been reached between Sarri and Chelsea, assuming Conte leaves the Blues.

Chelsea wouldn’t have to pay Sarri’s $9 million release clause if they wait until after Thursday to complete a deal.

Conte endured an up-and-down 2017/18 season with the Blues, however, Chelsea did manage to close the year on a high note with an FA Cup title.

Meanwhile, Sarri has held his post at Napoli since 2015, guiding the club to top three finishes in all three seasons in Italy’s top flight.

Video: Modric, Milner show off in training ahead of UCL final

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The UEFA Champions League final hasn’t even kicked off yet, and Liverpool and Real Madrid are already trying to show each other up with some gorgeous golazos.

[ MORE: Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s UCL final ]

Both sides had their final training sessions on Friday, and there were several unforgettable moment for each club.

We start with Real, who even got manager Zinedine Zidane involved in a crossing and finishing drill with some of his players.

This is where Luka Modric’s stunning volley came into play (below).

Meanwhile, in an inter-squad scrimmage amongst Liverpool’s team, James Milner unleashed this brilliant curling effort into the top corner (below).

LIVE: Aston Villa, Fulham battle for Premier League promotion

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The task is quite simple for the two sides competing at Wembley Stadium on Saturday; win and you’re back in the Premier League.

Aston Villa and Fulham will battle it out for the third and final promotion spot into the PL (12 p.m. ET) after boasting tremendous 2017/18 campaigns.

LIVE UPDATES FOR THE PLAYOFF FINAL 

For both clubs, there is a significance about restoring their role as a PL club, with Fulham last competing in the top flight four seasons ago and Villa two seasons removed.


Aston Villa: Johnstone; Chester, Snodgrass, Grealish, Hourihane, Jedinak, Hutton, Terry, Elmohamady, Adomah, Grabban. Bench: Whelan, Hogan, Bree, Onomah, Bjarnason, Kodjia, Bunn.

Fulham: Bettenelli; Fredericks, Sessegnon, Odoi, McDonald, Johansen, Cairney, Ream, Targett, Mitrovic, Kamara. Bench: Button, Fonte, Ayite, Norwood, Piazon, Christie, Kalas.