A question we've likely all been asked in job interviews is: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Admittedly, it's difficult to imagine Roman Abramovich adding that to his list of essential questions ahead of meeting prospective Chelsea managers during his time as owner. After all, no head coach even reached three and a half years in one go under the Russian's ownership.

But Luiz Felipe Scolari went into his ultimately brief stint as Chelsea boss with a fairly clear vision for his future. Attending his first Chelsea press conference in Neuchatel, Switzerland, where he was based with his Portugal team for Euro 2008, 'Felipao' – 59 at the time – gave himself another five years in management.

"I will be 60 soon and I don't want to be technical coach forever. I want to work for five more years and then I want to retire."

More than 14 years later, Scolari is at long last about to call it a day. But first he has one last shot at glory with Athletico Paranaense in Saturday's Copa Libertadores final, a success that he believes would be the "pinnacle" of 40-year coaching career.

The catalyst

The vast majority of Athletico's squad weren't even born when Scolari took charge of his first Libertadores final in 1995.

He led his beloved Gremio – the team he supported growing up – to their second continental crown on that occasion thanks to a 4-2 aggregate defeat of Colombia's Atletico Nacional in August 1995.

A comical Victor Marulanda own goal – a sliced lob over 'scorpion-kick' visionary Rene Higuita – sent Gremio on their way, before Mario Jardel pounced on a spill by the eccentric Atletico goalkeeper to make it 2-0 before half-time in the first leg.

Paolo Nunes slammed in from close range early in the second half after Higuita again failed to hold the ball. Juan Pablo Angel's clever finish at least ensured Atletico returned home with something to fight for in the second leg, and Victor Aristizabal's early goal back in Medellin stoked the belief, but Dinho finished them off from the spot in the 85th minute.

That Gremio side was a pure embodiment of the ethos that eventually defined Scolari's playing style. It may not have been a team full of superstars, but they were tough and hard-working. It wasn't quite 'jogo bonito', yet they were a clinical attacking force and Scolari guided them to six trophies in three years.

Nevertheless, Scolari's second Copa Libertadores success in 1999 – with Palmeiras – was arguably the precursor to his most famous achievement.

For starters, it was Palmeiras' first Libertadores title. Secured with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Deportivo Cali after the two were locked at 2-2 at the end the two legs, the success elevated Scolari to an altogether different standing in management, proving his Gremio spell was no fluke.

"I cemented my career on that title, I really expanded my horizons and had the opportunity to grow. This was made possible by Palmeiras."

Global recognition

Less than a year after leaving Palmeiras for Cruzeiro in June 2000, Scolari landed the biggest job of them all.

With Brazil's World Cup qualification campaign in danger of failure, Scolari was brought in to get them over the line. He certainly achieved that.

 

The Selecao actually lost to Uruguay in Scolari's first game and they were humiliatingly knocked out of the 2001 Copa America by Honduras.

But they got the results to take them to Japan and South Korea, where they flourished.

Scolari's exclusion of Romario from the squad for the finals was contentious but soon forgotten once the tournament started, with Brazil inspired by the legendary trio of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

They were comfortably the best team on display at the 2002 World Cup, winning all seven games – the first side to win 100 per cent of their games at a single edition of the tournament since 1970 – as they claimed a record-extending fifth title.

 

Scolari's career was made. He helped right the wrongs of 1998, and there was an acknowledgement he could do no more for the team as he left his post after the World Cup.

He subsequently took over Portugal and led them to the final of Euro 2004 before bowing out at the semi-final and quarter-final stages at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 respectively.

Scolari couldn't recreate his Brazil success with Portugal, but he was a World Cup winner and nothing could take that away.

The greatest achievement of all?

That five-year spell in charge of Portugal was something of an anomaly – Scolari had never even managed four years in one job and he's enjoyed a fairly nomadic career ever since his Chelsea exit in early 2009.

But in this period was a gutting low that even threatened to overshadow his 2002 World Cup success.

Of course, Scolari was in charge when Brazil were demolished on home soil by Germany at the 2014 World Cup, with the eventual champions remarkably winning their semi-final encounter 7-1 in Belo Horizonte in one of the most infamous games in tournament history.

 

Brazil players left the pitch in tears, Scolari went on to resign, and many would suggest Brazil still haven't healed from that nightmare.

"I need a hug," Scolari said as he returned to Gremio later that month. "I came back at this moment because I need a hug, some affection."

He may not have brought success back to Gremio, but he did go on to enjoy a trophy-laden spell in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, and he even guided Palmeiras to Brasileiro glory as recently as 2018.

But there's something considerably more remarkable about the situation he now finds himself in at Athletico – yes, that's Athletico rather than Atletico after the club reverted to their founding name in 2018.

Scolari was hired in May as a technical director and he also took the reins as coach until the end of the season, given the task of steadying the ship after Athletico hit a difficult patch that culminated in an embarrassing 5-0 Libertadores defeat to Bolivia's The Strongest, costing Fabio Carille his job.

No one can argue with Scolari's impact, leading Athletico – whom he claims have only the 13th-biggest budget in Brazil – to just their second Libertadores final. Flamengo await and are favourites, but Scolari has presided over a shock by even getting his team this far.

 

"This career is coming to an end indeed," he told the Associated Press. "If we win the Copa Libertadores, it will be the pinnacle of a career for which I worked a lot. I never expected this much, winning all that I have won."

It would've been easy for Scolari to walk away for good in 2014, punishing himself for Brazil's humiliation by disappearing into a retirement brought about by self-deprecation.

But he fought on and stands on the precipice of an achievement he believes will outshine all that have come before.

Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk is valued at "more than Antony of Manchester United, who cost €100million" according to assistant sporting director Carlo Nicolini, with Arsenal and Manchester City said to be interested.

Mudryk, 21, has been with the Ukrainian club since he was 15 years old, and after a pair of loan moves he returned to the club this past season and forced his way into the first team.

After the league season was halted due to the war between Ukraine and Russia, Mudryk returned in style this campaign, collecting three goals and five assists in six league fixtures, as well as three goals and two assists in five Champions League contests.

His exploits included two assists and a goal in a surprise 4-1 win over RB Leipzig, as well as goals in both of Shakhtar's 1-1 draws against Celtic – and Europe's top clubs have taken notice.

TOP STORY – PRICE TAG FOR SHAKHTAR'S MUDRYK SET AT NORTH OF €100M

In an interview with Calciomercato's TV Play, Nicolini claimed City and Arsenal are among teams keen on the Ukraine international, but made it clear Shakhtar are in no rush to sell.

Mudryk signed a four-year contract in February this year that ties him to the club until 2026.

As well discussing where interest is coming from – saying "the Italians bring low proposals" and "always come later", while confirming Spanish and French suitors – Nicolini claimed Mudryk was one of the best wingers in the world.

"It takes the right amount to take him away – together with Mbappe, Leao and Vinicius, Mudryk is the strongest player at the position," he said.

ROUND-UP

– According to HITC, Fulham are interested in four of Sao Paulo's players, including 20-year-old midfielder Pablo Maia, for whom they have reportedly submitted a second bid.

– Nottinghamshire Live claims Nottingham Forest are also prepared to bid for Sao Paulo's Maia, who is said to have a price tag of £9million.

– The Athletic is reporting Manchester United are monitoring 23-year-old Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa and 25-year-old Athletic Bilbao goalie Unai Simon as they decide whether to trigger David de Gea's contract extension.

– According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus have joined Newcastle United and Arsenal in the chase for 24-year-old Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar.

Arsenal also have strong interest in 23-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka, according to GiveMeSport.

Cristiano Ronaldo will get more goals after netting on his return to Manchester United's line-up says Erik ten Hag, who explained Antony's early substitution in the 3-0 Europa League win over Sheriff was planned.

Ronaldo was dropped for the draw at Chelsea last time out following his refusal to appear as a substitute during the previous game against Tottenham, but rounded off a routine 3-0 victory that secured the Red Devils' top-two place in Group E.

It marked the Portuguese superstar's first goal of the season at Old Trafford and Ten Hag, who saw Diego Dalot and Marcus Rashford also score, is sure there is more to come.

"Seeing Ronaldo get his goal was great," Ten Hag said during his post-match interview with BT Sport. "He created, the team created for him, and we know he has the capability to finish. He needed a goal and now I'm confident there will be more goals.

"[The team's performance] was okay. Of course, you hope you score in the first half hour, so it took a bit long, but we deserved that goal.

"The second half, we scored two more good goals from open play and I'm pleased with the clean sheet because we gave nothing away. It was a focused win."

The United head coach also defended his decision to substitute Antony at half-time. With the game still goalless, the Brazil international came under scrutiny for showboating as he performed a double spin before sending his subsequent pass out of play.

When asked if the former Ajax winger was replaced for that incident, Ten Hag replied: "No. It was more or less planned if we were up.

"I wanted to see Marcus and Cristiano close together, and the dynamic on the right side."

United must now beat Group E leaders Real Sociedad by two goals next week to advance to the last 16, while avoiding a potentially tricky play-off knockout-round clash with a team dropping from the Champions League.

Rashford, who scored his 99th goal for the club on Thursday, insists the Red Devils are relishing the task ahead.

Assessing the Sheriff victory, the England forward said: "Not getting the first goal quickly leads to a mix between frustration and calmness, you have to be calm to create chances and be clinical in taking them.

"Scoring before half-time was a big help, it allowed us to look for more goals and space, and we found them. It was about getting the job done.

"We have to go [to Real Sociedad] and score by two goals. We have to score goals, but defend well. It is going to be a tough game, but looking forward to the challenge."

Ben Johnson says West Ham will score when they need to after sealing their place in the Europa Conference League last-16 by beating Silkeborg 1-0 at London Stadium.

David Moyes' side sealed victory thanks to Manuel Lanzini's lone penalty in the capital, to maintain their unbeaten record in Group B this season.

But spurned chances elsewhere meant a surprisingly tight scoreline, with the Hammers having previously put three past the Danish outfit in the return fixture.

Johnson, however, is unconcerned by the narrow margins as long as he and his team-mates get the win, stating they will score when they need to.

"We won the game, we got the three points, we're through and we're top," he told BT Sport. "In the games where we need to put the ball in the net, I'm sure we will do."

Moyes was less enthused about wasted opportunities, though, suggesting his side needed to sharpen their calls on the field in order to yield greater returns.

"I thought we did enough to get two or three goals," he added. "I wouldn't put it simply down to poor finishing, but decisions in the final third more generally.

"We still had chances, and two or three players who probably should have got themselves a goal."

Defending champions Garvey Maceo will continue their quest for back-to-back ISSA/Digicel daCosta Cup titles after advancing to the quarterfinal round after a 10-0 home hammering of DeCarteret College in the second leg of their second-round fixture on Tuesday. Overall, they won the tie 15-0 after a 5-0 first leg win at Brooks Park on October 21.

With 32 teams advancing to the second round of the daCosta Cup, the teams played two leg knockout fixtures to determine the 16 teams to take part in the quarterfinal round. The quarterfinal round will involve four four-team groups with the winners advancing to the semi-finals.

Joining Garvey Maceo in Group 1 of the quarterfinal round will be Central High, Christiana High and Manchester High. Central advanced after beating Irwin High (Zone A winners in the preliminary round) 4-1 on aggregate. Christiana came out on the right side of a dogfight with Happy Grove, prevailing 4-3 on aggregate while Manchester beat B.B Coke 3-1 over two legs.

Group 2 will be contested by Cornwall College (Zone A runners up), Dinthill Technical (Zone K winners), Paul Bogle (Zone L winners) and William Knibb (Zone C winners). Cornwall College got to the quarters after beating Vere Technical 5-3 on penalties after the teams were deadlocked at 3-3 after two legs. Dinthill Technical now have 12 wins from as many games in this year’s daCosta Cup after 4-1 and 4-0 wins over Browns Town to advance. Paul Bogle beat Cedric Titus 2-0 on aggregate while William Knibb beat Petersfield 1-0 over two legs.

Clarendon College (Zone H winners), Frome Technical (Zone B winners), Rusea’s (Zone B runners up) and York Castle (Zone I winners) make up Group 3. Clarendon College hammered St. Mary Technical 12-1 on aggregate. Frome are still unbeaten this season after 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Titchfield, Rusea’s enjoyed a pair of 2-0 wins over Belair High and York Castle put seven past Seaforth over two legs without conceding.

Group 4 will be occupied by Edwin Allen (Zone H runners up), STETHS (Zone E winners), Manning’s (Zone D winners) and Glenmuir (Zone M winners). The second round saw STETHS secure a narrow 2-1 aggregate win over Holmwood, Edwin Allen beat McGrath 3-0, Manning’s get past Charlemont 4-2 and Glenmuir beat Tacky 10-1.

The quarterfinals get underway on Saturday.

Defending champions Kingston College were held to a surprising 0-0 draw by Jose Marti High in the first leg of their second-round tie in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup at Royal Lakes on Wednesday.

The second round of the Manning Cup will see 16 teams face off in two leg knockout fixtures to determine the eight teams to advance to the quarterfinals.

Kingston College advanced as winners of Group A while Jose Marti advanced as one of the best non-automatic qualifiers after finishing fourth in Group F.

Wednesday’s other second round fixtures saw Group B winners Jamaica College beat Norman Manley 5-0 at Calabar, STATHS (Group D winners) beat St. Jago (Group B third-place finishers) 2-1 at the Spanish Town Prison Oval and St. Catherine (Group B runners up) secure a 1-0 win over Wolmer’s Boys (Group E runners up) at Stadium East.

On Tuesday, Group E winners Mona High, the only team to have achieved maximum points from their 10 first round matches, continued their quest for a perfect season with a 2-0 win over Tivoli (third in Group C) at Stadium East.

Campion College (Group F runners up) and Charlie Smith (Group C winners) played out a 1-1 draw at Jamaica College while Haile Selassie (Group C runners up) and St. George’s College (Group A runners up) got 1-0 and 4-1 wins over Excelsior (Group F winners) and Jonathan Grant (Group D runners up) at Calabar High and the Spanish Town Prison Oval, respectively.

The second legs for the Tuesday fixtures will take place on Friday and the ones for the Wednesday games will happen on Saturday.

 

 

Didier Deschamps wants Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba to prove they can contribute at Qatar 2022 after announcing he will not be taking any injured players to the World Cup.

The France boss said everyone who travels to the finals, where Les Bleus will be defending the title they won in Russia, must be able to contribute immediately.

Manchester United centre-back Varane is not expected to play any club football until the Qatar 2022 finals get under way, after suffering a leg injury, while Pogba is back in training with Juventus after knee surgery but will not be rushed back to action.

"It's absolutely clear," Deschamps said in an interview with French website Brut. "I've never embarked on a big competition with an injured player, even if there are some who can come up with examples from 2018 with our full-backs who were Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe.

"They were healed. After that, it's about athletic condition. And between the time I made the list and what should have happened, that didn't happen… there you go.

"But leaving for a big competition with players who are not ready, already it occupies too much attention, and for those who have to play, it also monopolises the medical staff. I consider that we must leave with valid and capable players."

Pogba is still waiting to make an impact on the pitch in his second spell at Juventus, having rejoined the Serie A giants from Manchester United.

There is a strong will from Deschamps for the midfielder to be on the plane to Qatar, and Pogba may well return to club action in the coming weeks.

The coach has plenty of sympathy for the 29-year-old who has had a tough time away from football lately.

An investigation was opened in August into allegations Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by his brother Mathias and childhood friends demanding a €13million sum.

Mathias Pogba and four others were charged in relation to the matter and Deschamps regards Paul Pogba as "a victim".

"That it's been a very difficult moment for him, yes," Deschamps said.

"I talk to him regularly. He's someone who has a big mentality. Obviously, relating to his injury, it's not easy to manage. But psychologically, he's fine."

Bruno Guimaraes is playing a major role in Newcastle United's impressive start to the 2022-23 season.

The 24-year-old Brazilian midfielder has scored two goals and provided two assists for the Magpies this Premier League season.

Guimaraes joined Newcastle from Lyon in January on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL AND REAL JOIN GUIMARAES PURSUIT

The list of suitors for Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes is growing with Liverpool and Real Madrid keen on the Brazilian, according to TNT Sports.

Newcastle are eager to sign the midfielder to an improved and lengthy contract extension, making him their highest paid player to ward off interest.

Last week, Goal linked Chelsea with him, with clubs reportedly monitoring his contract status ahead of potential January offers.

ROUND-UP

– Premier League leaders Arsenal are looking to spend in January with three players on their radar according to The Sun. The Gunners are chasing Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Mykhaylo Mudryk and Villarreal winger Yeremy Pino .

– L'Equipe reports Bayern Munich are weighing up moving for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram as they look for a long-term replacement for Robert Lewandowski, who left for Barcelona in the close season.

Juventus have commenced talks with English teenager Samuel Iling-Junior on a new deal, claims Calciomercato. The 19-year-old made his Champions League debut on Tuesday.

– Football Insider claims Nottingham Forest will spend another £50m-£100m in the January transfer window to enhance their Premier League survival hopes. Forest made a record 22 signings following their promotion last term.

– Former Bochum boss Thomas Reis will take over as Schalke head coach, reports Sky. Schalke sacked Frank Kramer last week after their DFB-Pokal exit.

Sam Kerr scored four goals as Chelsea crushed Vllaznia 8-0 in the Women's Champions League on Wednesday, maintaining their perfect start in Group A.

Pernille Harder also struck a hat-trick and Katerina Svitkova headed home late on as the Blues followed up last week's impressive win over Paris Saint-Germain with a dominant display at Kingsmeadow.

Kerr needed just an hour to hit the net four times, finishing from close range on three occasions as well as converting Guro Reiten's corner with a towering header. 

Chelsea now hold a two-point advantage at the top of their group after Real Madrid played out a lively 0-0 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

In Group B, Wolfsburg recorded their second win in as many games as goals from Jule Brand and Ewa Pajor helped them to a 2-0 success against Slavia Prague.

However, the two-time Champions League winners look set to be pushed all the way by tournament debutants Roma after they triumphed 4-3 in a remarkable meeting with St. Polten.

Alessandro Spugna's Giallorosse were 2-0 down with 15 minutes to play, but held firm after goals from Elena Linari, Valentina Giacinti, Manuela Giugliano and Paloma Lazaro turned the contest around to move onto six points.

Yannick Carrasco missed a last-gasp penalty as Atletico Madrid crashed out of the Champions League following a 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen, who were also eliminated.

Requiring victory to maintain any hopes of progressing from Group B, Diego Simeone's side twice came from behind as Carrasco and Rodrigo de Paul cancelled out efforts from Moussa Diaby and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

There was late drama at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Clement Turpin had initially blown the full-time whistle before VAR penalised Piero Hincapie for handball in the box.

However, Carrasco was denied by Lukas Hradecky as Atletico bowed out at the group stage for the first time in five years.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas feels sanctions against Paris Saint-Germain are too lenient, comparing potential fines as comparable to "a cup of coffee" in cost for the club.

The Ligue 1 outfit, who are owned by Qatar Sports Investments, are one of the highest-spending sides in European football, under the watch of chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

PSG's transactions have come under intense scrutiny from critics, with the club previously handed a €65million fine - with €55m suspended - for Financial Fair Play breaches.

Tebas, however, feels such repercussions are too soft on the French outfit, who he claims are dismantling the sport's rulebook.

"€10m for PSG and Nasser is a cup of coffee!" he told L'Equipe. "Sanctions have to be dissuasive and also affect the sporting side of things.

"That has not been the case with those that were taken. These penalties don’t work, they have to be sanctioned now.

"Over the last six or seven seasons, PSG have lost a billion euros. They are breaking the European football ecosystem.

"How can other clubs compete with someone who has losses of one billion euros? It’s difficult."

 

European champions England will face off against Copa America Femenina champions Brazil at Wembley in the inaugural Women's Finalissima next year.

The clash on April 6 has been organised between UEFA and CONMEBOL to follow on from the success of the men's Finalissima in June, where South American champions Argentina defeated European title-holders Italy in front of a sold-out crowd at Wembley.

A cross-continent fixture has also taken place at youth level, with UEFA Youth League winners Benfica overcoming Uruguay's Club Atletico Penarol at the Estadio Centenario in August in Montevideo.

The clash will give both England and Brazil the opportunity to clinch a further title before the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, leading Three Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman to outline her excitement for the fixture.

"The great games keep on coming for us. This time, we have the opportunity to welcome Brazil to Wembley and it will be another big moment after the Euros and USA match," she said.

"Like us, they will be thinking about the World Cup next summer. This is a chance to again test ourselves against another top 10 team in the world, an opportunity to win another trophy and give our fans something special to watch, hopefully in a packed-out Wembley."

England's Euro success was only the second senior title they have ever lifted, while Brazil's triumph against Colombia in the Copa America was their fourth in a row and eighth in the nine editions of the tournament.

Chelsea have announced the arrival of Laurence Stewart from Monaco as technical director with a focus on global football, in what is seen as the first move towards a multi-club model.

Stewart, a former performance analyst for England during the 2014 World Cup, will arrive at Stamford Bridge upon the completion of his tenure with the Ligue 1 outfit.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has made little secret of his desire to move the Premier League outfit towards a multi-club model, akin to Manchester City and the City Football Group, who own teams in 11 countries.

Stewart, who has experience with such a model through Monaco, appears to be arriving to help facilitate that vision, given the emphasis his role will have on global matters.

"Laurence is an important appointment as we plan to build a deep sporting team that will collaborate closely," Boehly said in a statement with co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali.

"[He's] a world-class football leader who understands talent management, data and scouting, player development and performance."

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly preparing to rival Chelsea in the pursuit of RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku, with this expected to be the forward's last season in the Bundesliga.

Nkunku, 24, burst onto the world stage this past season when he raised his goal tally in all competitions to 35 in 52 games, after previously never having scored more than seven goals in a season.

This season he has shown it was no fluke, with eight goals from Leipzig's first 11 Bundesliga fixtures, while adding another two in the Champions League, including one in Tuesday's home win against Real Madrid.

His form warranted his senior international debut for France in March, and as he is preparing to play a role for the defending champions at the World Cup, his old club have reportedly decided they want him back.

 

TOP STORY – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN LOOK TO RECLAIM LEIPZIG'S NKUNKU

Nkunku spent nine years with PSG after arriving as a 13-year-old in 2010, earning 55 Ligue 1 appearances before being sold to Leipzig for a fee of €13million in 2019.

According to Fichajes, they now view that move as a mistake, and will look to reclaim France's new star as soon as January.

The report states both Liverpool and Chelsea are prepared to activate his €60m release clause in January, with Chelsea already said to have completed a preliminary physical in the previous transfer window, having been engaged with Leipzig in the sale of Timo Werner and an enquiry about Josko Gvardiol.

It is not known if PSG will have the funds to complete the move in January, especially while in contract renegotiations with superstar Lionel Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to 90min, Bayern Munich are considering a move for 32-year-old German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Manchester City at the end of the season.

– Sport reports that Barcelona are in talks with Wolves about securing 25-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves, with a deal believed to be possible in January. 

– The Los Angeles Times claims Cristiano Ronaldo could come to Major League Soccer to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles FC or Inter Miami if he can not find a European club.

– Calciomercato is reporting Manchester United have joined Chelsea and Barcelona with their interest in 25-year-old Ajax midfielder Edson Alvarez.

Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to pay €30m for 16-year-old Brazilian Endrick, per UOL Esporte. Endrick is playing in the Brazilian league with Palmeiras, and will not be allowed to make the jump to Europe before turning 18.

Retired Reggae Boy Ricardo Fuller is set to step into coaching after taking a role at the academy of former club Stoke City.

The 42-year-old former player is a cult favorite at the West Midlands club where he made 182 appearances between 2006 and 2012 and scored 43 goals.

The Jamaican will return to the club as part of the Professional Player to Coach scheme, an initiative that is jointly administered by the Premier League, EFL, and Professional Footballers' Association.  The aim of the program is to increase the presence of minority coaches in the game of English football, a major talking point for the last several years.

Fuller will do work with all age groups at the club’s youth academy, where players range in age from 9-21.  Despite being a former fan favourite, the club made it clear the retired striker was not simply handed the position.

“Ricardo was one of a host of applicants for the role and he proved to be the strongest candidate after a thorough interview process,” Garth Owen, the director of the club’s academy, explained.

Fuller made 72 appearances for the Jamaica national team and scored a total of 9 goals.

 

 

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