Premier League

'Flattered' AVB staying at Spurs

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Thu, 25 Apr 2013 23:03:00

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has retained his position as the wealthiest football manager in Britain, according to a report to be published on Sunday.

The fourth annual Sunday Times Sport Rich List, to be published in full on 28 April, says that Ferguson, who has just led United to Premier League title glory, is now worth ?34m.

The list is based on identifiable wealth, which includes land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, but which excludes bank accounts.

Former Sunderland and Ipswich boss Roy Keane, who used to play for Ferguson at United, is next on the list at ?29m, followed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (?29m).

QPR manager Harry Redknapp is worth ?13m, good enough for ninth on the list, just behind his predecessor at Loftus Road, Mark Hughes (?14m).

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has joined the list in joint-10th, alongside England boss Roy Hodgson and Martin O'Neill, with a fortune of ?12m.

The richest Formula One drivers born or based in the UK have also been revealed and Lewis Hamilton leads the way among active drivers on ?60m, an increase of ?5m since last year.

Jenson Button has also added ?5m to his total in the last year and is now worth ?58m, while Scot Dario Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar champion, is worth ?50m.

Villas-Boas has deservedly won many plaudits for the way he has kept Tottenham in the race for the Champions League despite a spate of injuries and the loss of Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Ledley King.

His work, it seems, has not gone unnoticed in Madrid, where nine-time European champions Real are on the look-out for a man to replace Villas-Boas' old mentor Jose Mourinho.

Although he is just 35 years old, the idea that Villas-Boas could be on Madrid's shortlist seems perfectly plausible.

And, as any manager would, the Portuguese says he is honoured to hear of their apparent interest, although he understands it may just be pure speculation that has come about because Mourinho has made it clear he will leave the Bernabeu this summer.

"The fact he (Mourinho) made it public that he is looking for an exit has ended up with a lot of speculation," Villas-Boas said.

"It's very flattering but I think at the moment everybody is being linked with the Real Madrid job because there are now lots of coaches around."

Villas-Boas, like Mourinho, is no ordinary coach. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he did not have a long playing career and he is not obsessed with the game as some may suggest.

When in charge of Porto, Villas-Boas said he wanted to spend just between 10 and 15 years in management while he also stated he wants to coach in Brazil at some stage of his career.

His views have not changed.

"Yes, that's (still) the case," he said. "I definitely want to manage in Brazil.

"I would definitely move very, very soon to a club in a different league."

The last comment might set alarm bells ringing in some quarters, but make no mistake - this was not a case of Villas-Boas announcing to the world that he intends to leave for pastures new. Why? Because he has unfinished business - on a personal level and a professional one.

Leaving Academica, his first club, and Porto, after just eight months and one season respectively, might be seen as a sign of a lack of commitment.

But perhaps more importantly, he wants to repay Daniel Levy for showing faith in him so shortly after Roman Abramovich pulled the plug on the Portuguese's "project" in west London 13 months ago.

The fact that he turned down the Sao Paulo job last summer also adds weight to the idea he wants to go on and firmly re-establish his reputation in England with Tottenham after his roller-coaster spell at Stamford Bridge, where he was sacked after nine months.

"For me it is always an honour (to be linked with Madrid), but I am completely focused (on Spurs)," Villas-Boas said. "I have a contract. I was given an opportunity (by Levy) and was extremely grateful.

"It's different. At the moment I am very, very focused on trying to get another year at one club, the same club!

"When everybody signs a contract you are expected to do it until the end."

The DW Stadium may not have the same wow factor as the Bernabeu, but there can be no doubting the importance of Tottenham's trip to Wigan on Saturday afternoon.

A win against Roberto Martinez's strugglers would put Spurs into third, heaping the pressure on Arsenal and Chelsea, who face Manchester United and Swansea respectively on Sunday afternoon.

The good news for Villas-Boas is that he has winger Aaron Lennon back after a three-week knee injury lay-off.

"He (Lennon) has been training with the team all week so he will be available for selection," said Villas-Boas, who welcomed Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe back from injury for last weekend's 3-1 win over Manchester City.

"He is a good player to have back, he has had a tremendous impact. It is another big boost for the squad."

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