Semedo hopes magic of old pal rubs off on Owls in derby clash

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Proud Portuguese Jose Semedo watched his country’s thrilling World Cup play-off against Sweden with complete confidence on Tuesday.

That’s because hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo had told his own pal Semedo, before the game, that there was “no way” Portugal could lose.

And the Real Madrid superstar kept his promise, scoring a hat-trick to send his country to Brazil 2014 - possibly thanks to Semedo’s good wishes before the game!

“I spoke to Cristiano before the game, and wished him luck,” Semedo told the Telegraph.

“I said to him, ‘God bless you’. But he promised me that there was no way Portugal could lose.

“‘I am ready to take Portugal to the World Cup’, he said. And was true to his word!”

Semedo and Ronaldo’s careers may have taken markedly different paths, but the two remain good friends after spending time together at Sporting Lisbon’s academy as teenagers.

The 28-year-old Owls star even believes he would never have made it to England if it weren’t for Ronaldo, who put an extra bed in his room so Semedo could stay at the Lisbon academy when the duo were 14.

“The guy is truly the best player on the planet, but also a great guy,” Semedo added.

While Ronaldo lines up against Almeria in La Liga this weekend, Semedo is hoping for a recall to the Owls squad which faces Huddersfield on Saturday.

Semedo is available again after serving a three-match suspension for his red card at Bolton, and is one of just three players still at Hillsborough who started Wednesday’s festive thriller against Huddersfield almost exactly two years ago.

From that epic 4-4 draw, on December 17, 2011, only Semedo, Reda Johnson and David Prutton are still with Wednesday, while Jermaine Johnson was an unused substitute.

“It’s impossible to forget!” Semedo smiled, when asked if he recalls that 4-4 game.

“It was a crazy game, but derby matches normally have something crazy like that happen because players raise their games an extra ten per cent.

“These are the kind of games that footballers love.”

On a day when Wednesday fell 2-0 behind, went 4-2 up and eventually had to settle for a point, Jordan Rhodes scored all four goals for the Terriers on his way to a remarkable season haul of 40 goals in 46 games.

The goalscoring exploits of Rhodes led to an £8m move to Blackburn Rovers, but Town boss Mark Robins is still able to call upon the services of James Vaughan, who has hit eleven goals in 14 appearances so far this season.

“I’m definitely glad to see the back of Rhodes!” Semedo said.

“He was unplayable that day. But even without him, they’re still a good team with some good players like Vaughan. So it’ll be a good test for us.”

Semedo, who was red-carded for a clumsy tackle on Bolton’s Jay Spearing over a month ago, has maintained his fitness playing reserve-team football, and scored a rare header in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Burnley in a 1-1 draw.

“It’s hard to take because I still maintain it wasn’t a red card,” Semedo added, “but I have to put it behind me.

“To be honest, I have missed the whole Saturday experience. I’ve played a few reserve games and friendlies, but it’s nothing like a real Saturday game.

“As soon as I saw that red card, that’s what went through my head - that I’d miss some games.

“It’s hard when you’re not involved - I miss being in the changing room, and even stuff like going out for the warm up.

“Only a footballer will really understand what I mean, but I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and put things right.”