Mario Balotelli Swaps Shirt With Pepe At Halftime Of Liverpool/Real Madrid UCL Game

Mario Balotelli could be one of the most infuriating soccer players who has ever existed. He has so much talent but can go months or even years without showing his full potential. It is infuriating as a fan because he is leagues behind where he should be as a player if he was only able to keep his head on straight. The above incident is a perfect example of why he cost so much less than he should have this past transfer window and why Liverpool were criticized for signing him. Who exchanges their jersey with a member from the opposing team at halftime? Liverpool were getting embarrassed 3-0 at the time and this basically says “This game is over.” Granted he was was substituted at halftime but did he know that before he exchanged the jersey? Even if he did know it would still be bad but if he didn’t it would be even worse. For a player under as much scrutiny as he is because of the way he has played since his arrival at Liverpool it was stupid to do this. The media was already eating him alive so he must have known doing something like this would only make it worse. Mario Balotelli had a chance to reinvent himself at Liverpool and he is failing to break out of his old habits. Luis Suarez had bad habits too but at least he scored goals and played his heart out.

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Gamedayplus — Steven Gerrard, Gareth Bale, Bastian Schweinsteiger Presented By adidas

Watch Bastian Schweinsteiger teach us how to take a perfect freekick, see Steven Gerrard on the driving range talk about the UEFA Champions League and listen to Gareth Bale’s thoughts on life so far with Real Madrid C.F.

The main focus of this is for adidas to market their products but I don’t care. These Gamedayplus videos are real treat. Before watching this I would never have known Steven Gerrard was such a good golfer. Of course this is only one video out of an entire series so make sure to follow the others. Not only do you get to see more of your favorite soccer stars but you also get a sneak peak at the latest adidas products. It’s a win-win.

Former FIFA Official Suggest Qatar World Cup Games Could Be Played Late At Night And During Primetime For US And European Audiences

From ESPN FC:

“You could play the first games at 7 p.m., the second games at 10 p.m. and the third matches at 1 a.m.,” the former Chile FA president said. “You’d change everything. It would be a couple of hours behind in Europe, and that would help TV.”

The 1:00 AM matches would go off at 6:00 PM in the United States which would make the games easier to view than if they were scheduled during the times that normal World Cup games are scheduled (The time difference would have meant a lot of early mornings for US soccer fans). This is one of the smarter plans that have been voiced. No one wants to change the international soccer calendar to fit the World Cup into the winter break and it is clear FIFA has no intention of moving the 2022 World Cup to a different country, no matter how many human rights violations and corruption occur. It is not the best situation but so far it is the only suggestion worth following and it is still not perfect. Even at night Qatar reaches 90 degrees but the lack of sun and the supposed “air conditioned stadiums” could at least render the games playable. It will be interesting to see how this idea is received.

Hershey Teen Christian Pulisic Heading For German Soccer Club Borussia Dortmund

From PennLive.com:

Pulisic will begin his transition from promising American-born player packing a highly combustible assortment of God-given ability, built-in soccer instincts and blue-collar work rate to European-based professional scraping and scrapping for playing time with other remarkably gifted midfielders and forwards at globally prominent German club Borussia Dortmund.

With a long-term contract in play (five years) and a European passport in his already-ragged travel bag once the paperwork is finalized — his grandfather, Mate Pulisic, is a Croatian native who eventually emigrated to the United States so Christian is attempting to obtain a Croatian passport — the youthful Pulisic will begin crafting yet another crisp diagonal run or sliding a through ball behind a defense or corkscrewing an unsuspecting defender into the ground.

The article quoted above is one of the better articles about the process and sacrifices it takes for a player to move abroad to continue working towards his dream of being a professional soccer player and playing on the USMNT. From the sounds of it Christian Pulisic could be one of the next best USMNT players if his development continues and it is great to know that is where he has set his lofty career goals. There is a growing trend of American soccer players going to academies abroad and it can only mean good things to the future of the USMT. It is especially positive that Christian is going to Borussia Dortmund because his development will be accelerated by being there rather than a smaller club such as a Sunderland or Hull City. It only helps that David Wanger, an former US international, is a coach of Borussia Dortmund II and Joe Gyau, a hot USMNT prospect, has played a few games with Borussia Dortmund’s first team after coming progressing from their reserve team (Borussia Dortmund II). If this move works out then people will be looking back at his transfer to Borussia Dortmund as the beginning of something special.