AZ Alkmaar's Altidore and Valencia's Rami fight for the ball during their Europa League soccer match in Valencia

ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

Hard to say where this Jozy Altidore story is going, this split that has developed with the U.S. national team, other than to say: The man is only 23. There’s a lot of soccer left in his career, and these things do evolve. If he keeps scoring and continues playing well in Holland or at his next stop, wherever that is, Altidore will be fine.

Oh, and when we say he is 23 … that just happened today. So, Happy B-Day, Jozy.  

Christina DiMartino of the former Philadelphia Independence turns 26.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

The next round of Champions League greatness is upon us. Today’s dandies include Real Madrid-Borussia Dortmund, Schalke-Arsenal and Manchester City-Ajax.

Speaking of Manchester City, chances of Roberto Mancini’s team advancing out of Group D are super model slim – and that will only add more pressure on the Italian man in charge at the City of Manchester Stadium.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Chad Ashton

*Ahead on the blog today:

We’re barely finished talking about the MLS conference semifinal opening legs when, lo and behold, it’s time to talk about the second leg deciders. Three of them are Wednesday; we’ll have previews up today.

And we’ll have stories before and after today’s Champions League matches.

Twitter daps:


What you should watch on TV today:

Manchester City and Champions League surprise Ajax live from England, at 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel.

For those with Fox Soccer Plus, Real Madrid-Borussia Dortmund kicks off at the same time.

Background noise while blogging today: Election coverage, I suppose.

(I think I speak for most Americans, on either side of the political fence, when I say this: no matter what happens, for the love of all that’s good, let it be over tonight.)

We’ll leave you with this:  Go vote.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.