24
Jul

Carmelo Anthony visits Real Madrid training, shows off solid juggling skills

While Real Madrid were at the campus at UCLA preparing for the International Champions Cup this week, NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony stopped by a training session.

Melo juggled a ball around (with some surprising skill, actually!), took a few headers and had a turn in goal before a photo session with players:

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What stood out most in the video, though, was just how simply towering the 6-foot-8 Anthony is. Anthony’s sheer size makes the defending European champions look like a youth squad.

Given the United States men’s national team’s recent exit from the World Cup, the mind can’t help but wonder how awesome it’d be to have athletes of Carmelo’s caliber roaming around the field.

With that height and a 30+ inch vertical leap, it’d be seemingly impossible for him not to score! Or, perhaps his massive wingspan would be better served in between the posts.

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With a little practice, maybe he’d be willing to serve in a Tim Krul-like role for the national team. Good luck trying to slot a penalty past that!

Then again, Anthony just inked a contract with the New York Knicks worth upward of $122 million. We’ll continue to dream on!

Images from Real Madrid’s Facebook page.

24
Jul

Head-scratcher: What has Pepe done to his hair?

No, seriously, we want to know. What has Pepe done to his hair?

The summer can be a bit boring for some footballers, but certainly there’s a better way than THAT to spice things up.

His hair looks like a bare tree!

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(Image: Getty)

Maybe it’s a defensive technique, since someone could poke an eye out going up for a header against him.

What makes matters worse is he’s currently in California for the International Champions Cup. If this becomes the next American fad hairstyle, we’re calling it quits. Bring back the Bieber … anything!

Hopefully Pepe lost a bet, and this coiffure nightmare is all just a joke that will soon disappear. 

(h/t Dirty Tackle)

23
Jul

Scary scene breaks out as protesters clash with players during friendly

Maccabi Haifa players and pro-Palestinian protesters clashed during a preseason friendly between Haifa and Lille in Austria, with the incident caught on video.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a group of male fans stormed the pitch in the 85th minute waving Palestine flags. Punches were thrown and profanities exchanged between Haifa players and the pitch invaders, but security eventually removed the protesters.

Thankfully, it appears everyone emerged from the fracas uninjured.

(H/T Deadspin).

23
Jul

New blood: Shaw, Herrera open up about Manchester United’s plans

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Luke Shaw (L) and Ander Herrera (C) will hope to play key roles in Louis van Gaal’s plans at Manchester United this season (Photo: Getty Images).

Manchester United’s year of redemption begins on Wednesday night as they kick off their preseason against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (live, FOX Sports 1, 10:30 p.m. ET).

After the disastrous 2013-14 campaign, wherein the then-defending champions slumped to seventh place in the Barclays Premier League, veteran manager Louis van Gaal has replaced David Moyes and will endeavor to bring the Red Devils back to the top.

Ahead of the match, FOX Soccer caught up with United’s two big summer signings, midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Luke Shaw, in the first one-on-one interviews with each player since their transfers.

First up is Ander Herrera, who came over from Athletic Bilbao:

Leander Schaerlaeckens: Ander, what made you want to join Manchester United?

Ander Herrera: “I am in Manchester United because this is maybe the biggest club in the world. Because Man United have given me the possibility to play at the highest level. I am looking forward to playing here because Louis van Gaal is one of the best coaches in the world.”

LS: Have you spoken to van Gaal? What is he expecting from you?

Ander Herrera: “I think that Louis van Gaal wants that all the midfielders to always want to keep the ball, keep possession, to be an offensive team, always want the ball, never… One moment, I am going to search in Internet! [Pause.] One moment… [Pause.] Hide! Never hide from the ball! Always attack, because he thinks Man United supporters want always to win and be an offensive team.”

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The Red Devils attempted to sign Ander Herrera last summer but failed to complete the deal, with reports suggesting the transfer had been interfered with by pranksters pretending to act United’s behalf (Photo: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images).

LS: Does he see you more as an attacking midfielder? Or more of a box-to-box guy?

Ander Herrera: “My qualities, my style is offensive. But I think that I can defend as well. I think that if we want to win, to achieve our objectives, we have to defend with all the team, all the players.”

LS: What is the most important thing United have to do this year to compete for the Premier League?

Ander Herrera: “We have to run like a humble team and be compact and work hard to be a good, professional team. I think Man United has a lot of qualities. If you defend hard, after you will be able to play like a big team.”

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21
Jul

Open champ and Man United fan Rory McIlroy booed by Liverpool locals

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Rory McIlroy dominated the Open Championship this past weekend, leading from start to finish en route to his third major golf championship of his career. But the 25-year-old did make one grave error: He took a moment during his acceptance speech to mention his allegiance to football club Manchester United.

The problem? The Open was held at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. Whoops!

Needless to say, the Merseyside locals were none too pleased:

That’s a one-stroke penalty, Roy!

18
Jul

Nike Soccer launches new app, route into the professional arena

As the football world directs its attention to the domestic season after a successful 2014 World Cup, fans of all walks of life can now chat with friends, create matches and access exclusive Nike products all through the power of Nike Football’s new app.

Nike Football’s app allows users to create micro-communities with the “Crew” option, giving them the chance to play pick-up games with friends and teammates to improve their skills. In turn, users can also set up a time and location for their rendezvous with the “Play” section thanks to its geo-tracking technology that allows members to set up matches around the world.

Per Nike’s official press release:

“A player’s community will increase in size as they connect with players in their area. This enables them to find more games, more often, against new opponents. It’s the ultimate way to play more and play better,” said Davide Grasso, Chief Marketing Officer for Nike said in a statement. “The Nike Football app puts players behind-the-scenes with Nike and their heroes. The app will deliver premium content, access to limited product and events before any of our other channels.”

And the fun doesn’t stop there.

The new app will also be the only way to earn a place at the Nike Academy — the U.K. based academy for young players, based at St. George’s Park National Football Center — like previous academy players such as Tom Rogic (Australia), Abdul Waris and David Accam (both Ghana).

The Nike Football app is available now on iOS and Android.

(H/T Nike)

18
Jul

The top 5 social media moments of the World Cup

Yes, we know it’s already been almost a week since the final. So? We can’t get over it, okay?

5. Robin Van Persie’s diving header

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After RVP’s signature goal against Spain, we all should’ve known. This was going to be the World Cup of Goals. In fact, Brazil ended up equaling France ‘98 for the most goals ever at a singe World Cup, few as pretty and none as unique as the flying Dutchman’s.

4. Costa Rica, CONCACAF takes world by storm

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First the World Cup’s Cinderella beat Uruguay, then Italy. Then they sealed England’s elimination, and waltzed all the way to the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Mexico and the United States also did their qualifying region proud. (We’ll forget Honduras was there). CONQUERCAF, indeed!

3. Tim Howard’s goalkeeping performance for the ages

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America’s No. 1 made 15 saves against Belgium in the Round of 16, the most saves by a World Cup goalie since 1966. And though the USA didn’t advance, he did become the best internet meme of the World Cup, and that has to count for something.

2. Luis Suarez mistakes Giorgio Chiellini for chicken parmesan

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We don’t need to explain this one, do we? Heck, Suarez even inspired his own version of Pac-Man! Sometimes, some things are just so bad that they’re great.

1. Fuleco just can’t hide his excitement

Sorry, nothing could ever beat this. Fuleco has locked down the title of most outrageous World Cup mascot of all time.

16
Jul

Mike Magee stars in hilarious spoof of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

In this phenomenal short courtesy of KickTV and Major League Soccer, Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee channels his inner Ferris Bueller and decides to skip school — er, practice — and play hookie for a day.

The “trailer” to Mike Magee’s Day Off parodies many scenes from the classic 1980s flick “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and features a loaded cast; LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez stars as Magee’s best friend; United States women’s national team star Sydney Leroux plays Magee’s girlfriend; Hope Solo is the jealous sister.

And that’s not all.

"World Champion" Judah Friedlander acts as Bueller’s uber-dull economics teacher (very convincingly, too), while Thierry Henry is a host at a French restaurant. Plus, MLS standouts Michael Bradley, Dwayne De Rosario and LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena all make cameos as well.

The clip ends on the famous last line of the movie, with a slight tweak:

"Life moves pretty fast," Magee says. "If you don’t stop and watch a game once in a while, you might miss it.”

Brilliant!

H/T FTW

12
Jul

World Cup Day 24: Best tweets from Brazil vs. Netherlands

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Oh, the dreaded third-place playoff match.

Dismissed by many and craved by few, the “consolation final” actually took on more importance this time around. It offered Brazil a chance to pick up the remnants of their dignity which was so brutally smashed into pieces by Germany in Belo Horizonte. An opportunity to apply some balm and gauze to the nation’s wound, and finish the World Cup with their heads held high.

It wasn’t to be. Instead, the Netherlands poured gasoline on the fire, beating the hosts 3-0. Brazil’s second capitulation in a week’s time — the first time they’ve lost consecutive home matches since 1940 — seemed all but a forgone conclusion by thetime Thiago Silva took down Arjen Robben in the second minute for a Dutch penalty (Silva was more than lucky not to be sent off, though he probably would have preferred watching the rest from the locker room).

If you have schadenfreude or no heart and would like to recount Brazil’s latest disaster, here are the best tweets from Saturday’s third-place match:

2nd minute:  Robin van Persie converts the penalty; Brazil’s defense picks up where it left off on Tuesday:

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16th minute: David Luiz with a “clearing” header back into the center of the eighteen. Daley Blind is there. 2-0 to the “bad guys.”

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Look away Brazil fans! Some halftime stats:

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Second half: Brazil should be awarded a penalty after a clear foul on Oscar. Instead, Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi shows Oscar a yellow card for diving! 

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FT: Georginio Wijnaldum scores a third for the Dutch in injury time. Shortly after the referee puts Brazil out of their World Cup misery:

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Hey, we’ve gotta use Arsenal jokes while we still can!

Images provided by Getty and Action.

12
Jul

Pope Francis, Benedict XVI will remain neutral in World Cup final

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With the World Cup final nearly upon us, supporters from the two teams that make up the fixture — Argentina and Germany — will be desperate for some divine intervention to see them to glory. Unfortunately, though, they won’t be able to call in any favors from two of the holiest men on the planet.

Pope Francis — who is Argentine — nor his predecessor, ex-German Pope Benedict XVI will be supporting their respective nations.

“Popes are above such things,” Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said, via The Boston Globe. “They can only hope for the best team to win.”

Their decision to remain impartial may come as a shock to many, considering the first pontiff from Latin America is an avid soccer fan who roots for the Saints of San Lorenzo back in Buenos Aires. Since his election in March, Pope Francis has accumulated a growing collection of soccer jerseys tossed to him by fans at his public appearances.

Although neither is willing to side with either nation, the Pope is expected to catch the action, according to Roxana Alfieri, who worked with Pope Francis in Argentina.

“He will surely watch the match; I have no doubt about it,” Alfieri said. “He used to listen to San Lorenzo on the radio and enjoyed following all the big events on TV.”

(H/T NESN)

Photo provide by Getty Images. Information from The Associated Press was used in this post.