Abraham unsurprised by interest in 'uncle' Mourinho as Portugal and Brazil links persist

By Sports Desk December 24, 2022

Tammy Abraham is unsurprised by reports suggesting both Portugal and Brazil are interested in Roma coach Jose Mourinho, who he views as an "uncle" figure.

Mourinho led Roma to the inaugural Europa Conference League title last season, his fifth major continental triumph after winning both the UEFA Cup/Europa League and Champions League on two occasions.

However, the Giallorossi boss has been linked with an exit in the aftermath of the World Cup, with both Portugal and Brazil searching for a new coach following quarter-final exits in Qatar.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma striker Abraham said any side would be fortunate to have Mourinho, crediting the 59-year-old's methods for his own development. 

"Jose is a great coach, everyone wants him," Abraham said. "It's also an honour that an important national team like Portugal is looking for him, but I'm sure the coach is focused on the team. 

"We've read the news on social media, but we haven't discussed it. We're all focused on Roma.

"He's a point of reference, I consider him to be like my uncle in Rome. He wants the best for me, when I don't express myself at my best, he pushes me. 

"Even when I play well, he's never satisfied and that's what I need. I'm not the type for pats on the back, but I need that trust he shows in me every day."

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  • Busby pleased with foundation laid after first session ahead of Brazil friendlies Busby pleased with foundation laid after first session ahead of Brazil friendlies

    Senior Reggae Girlz Head coach Hubert Busby expressed pleasure with the foundation laid at the team’s first in-person engagement since his reappointment, and he believes it sets a good tone for the remainder of the camp in Brazil.

    Busby and his squad –with the exception of Jody Brown, who was scheduled to arrive late –went through what he said was a lively two-hour session to hit the ground running ahead of the two-match friendly series against The Female Canaries on June 1 and June 4.

    While the games will aide Brazil’s preparations for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, for Busby and his team, the outing is more about rekindling their competitive spirit, as it represents the first assignment together for the core group of players after almost nine months apart.

    Those Girlz that represented at last year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup withdrew their services after the Olympic qualifiers against Canada in September, citing nonpayment and mistreatment from Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) among their reasons.

    Now reunited, Busby pointed out that the first session was to get the Girlz reacquainted with the structures the team plans to implement going forward.

    Reggae Girlz celebrate their historic progression to the knockout rounds at the 2023 World Cup after a 0-0 stalemate with Brazil.

    “Obviously a great first day, the players…some of them came in a little bit late, but they came with a great attitude. We got some passing patterns in, and also got into a little small-sided game just to open up the legs and we also did a little bit of implementation of some of the tactics in terms of how we want to play and build. So overall, spirits are very high, the attitude was good, energy is very good, and everybody was fantastic,” Busby said shortly after Wednesday’s session at Nautico Football Club.

    “Everyone is in good conditions coming off part of a little bit of the season. It was a long travel, there's no way of getting around it, but the players are good. So, you know, all we do need to do now is just really kind of get them recovered, review some film, and to implement that plan a little bit more and get ready for our training tomorrow (Thursday),” he added.

    Having last guided the team in 2021, Busby pointed to the significance of this first camp to reengage players, individually and collectively with a broader view of what his coaching staff is hoping to achieve, as well as to reinforce roles and responsibilities when it comes to team selection.

    “Obviously, the core of this particular group of players have been away for a long time, so the excitement level is good to come in and see their fellow sisters. It's good for them to pull on the jersey and take that pride in playing for their national team and that showed today (Wednesday) and I'm really proud of the way they came out and showed that attitude,” the former national goalkeeper shared.

    “But really for us now, it's for them to kind of focus on what needs to happen. That was the base on some of those one-on-one conversations, as well as to get their expectations of us and also to share our expectations of them…around the roles and responsibilities within our system and then for us to go out and continue to implement that in the daily training sessions,” Busby noted.

    Reggae Girlz vs Brazil at the 2023 World Cup in Australia.

    While the expectation is for his 42nd-ranked Girlz to prove formidable against the number 10-ranked Brazilians, Busby pointed out that getting back to and, by extension, surpassing the team’s competitive level at the World Cup will be a process.

    Jamaica and Brazil met twice at the 2019 and 2023 World Cups. The South Americans won the first encounter in France 3-0, while the Girlz fought gallantly for a goalless stalemate in Australia last year, and made an historic appearance in the knockout stages of the global showpiece.  

    “I think it's been a process, right. I think the idea now we're talking about is how we look to evolve as a team, as a group, and as a programme. Also to best sort of put into place the characteristics of what a Jamaican women's football player should possess on the world stage,” the tactician reasoned.

    “There is also our playing principles in terms of what we want to do, so I think that's the key heading into these next two games. But it's a process and I think after speaking to the players and obviously with the staff, we're committed to that process,” Busby ended.

  • Bellingham backing 'best player in the world' Vinicius for Ballon d'Or Bellingham backing 'best player in the world' Vinicius for Ballon d'Or

    Jude Bellingham will hold no grudges if Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior wins the Ballon d'Or, saying "I'd feel just as proud as if I won it".

    The England international was voted LaLiga's Player of the Season following a tremendous maiden campaign with Madrid, who he helped land a 36th league title.

    Bellingham scored 19 goals and had six assists in 28 league games this season, while tallying 35 goal contributions across all competitions for Los Blancos.

    His exploits led former Madrid and England striker Michael Owen to claim he has a "massive chance" of winning the Ballon d'Or, though the 20-year-old believes there is a more suitable candidate for the accolade.

    "I'm not really too fussed about it," he said. "I always thought the Ballon d'Or and those sorts of things were for the strikers, the wingers and the flashy players.

    "I know I can entertain the crowd, but no-one can do it like Vini. When he's at his best, I think he's the best player in the world. I know he likes to say the same about me, and that's the kind of relationship we have. 

    "You don't always have to be friends with your team-mates, but it helps when you can be so close off the pitch as well. And then, on the pitch, it reflects. We have a good understanding of each other's movements.

    "To be honest, if he was to win it, I'd feel just as proud as if I won it, because I know I've helped contribute to the success."

    Both players are likely to feature in Saturday's Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium, when Los Blancos seek a record-extending 15th Champions League title.

  • Lenny Kravitz to headline UEFA Champions League Final kick off show Lenny Kravitz to headline UEFA Champions League Final kick off show

    Pepsi® and UEFA have revealed that legendary rock musician Lenny Kravitz will headline the UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show presented by Pepsi. The highly anticipated performance is set to take place on June 1, 2024 at Wembley Stadium in London, marking the eighth consecutive year of this spectacular curtain raiser.

    Lenny Kravitz, the Grammy-award-winning artist known for his dynamic stage presence and iconic hits, is set to captivate audiences with his genre-defying sound just minutes before the biggest final in the club football calendar. Kravitz, who recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is currently generating buzz with his upcoming album, Blue Electric Light, that was launched on May 24, just one week before his UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show performance.

    Pepsi has further built anticipation for the event by releasing an energetic short film titled ‘Wembley Is Blue | Lenny Kravitz x UCL Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi’. The film features the unmistakable echoes of the UEFA Champions League anthem as Kravitz walks down a tunnel, paintbrush in hand, covering the walls in Pepsi Blue before stepping onto the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium. The camera reveals a blue mural of his face on the pitch, setting the stage for an unforgettable show.

    “I’m really looking forward to my performance for the UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show presented by Pepsi in London, a city which holds a special place in my heart,” said Kravitz. “It’s going to be such an exciting event ahead of a final that means so much to so many. We can’t wait to show you all what we have in store.”

    Eric Melis, VP of Global Brand Marketing at PepsiCo, expressed the brand’s excitement about the upcoming event. “As a brand with a rich heritage in both music and football, we are proud to bring together once again, in the host city, millions of viewers from around the world and one of the most iconic names in music for an electrifying performance live from iconic Wembley Stadium in London, the home of music, sports, and entertainment. Lenny Kravitz adds unparalleled dynamism and energy to the show. He lives by our ‘Thirsty For More’ philosophy, which celebrates people’s thirst for life - and we can’t wait to see how fans react to this unmissable show.”

    Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Marketing Director, highlighted the significance of the performance. “This year’s UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show presented by Pepsi will bring fans to their feet as legendary rock and roll icon Lenny Kravitz takes the stage to deliver one of his signature performances ahead of this year’s UEFA Champions League final. Our longstanding and fruitful partnership with Pepsi fills us with enormous pride as we collaborate to make this flagship match on the football calendar more memorable and entertaining for fans inside Wembley and those watching around the globe.”

    Pepsi and UEFA have consistently marked the UEFA Champions League final with momentous music performances, uniting football and music fans through one compelling entertainment spectacle. The UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show presented by Pepsi will air in over 200 countries and territories globally, just minutes before the standout fixture of the club football calendar, embodying Pepsi’s ‘Thirsty For More’ global platform.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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