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Former Maryland-resident teenager holding his own in Arsenal preseason (videos)


While Julian Green has stolen the headlines for his two hat tricks in Bayern Munich’s preseason, Gedion Zelalem has also performed ably for Arsenal in its preseason tour of Asia.

Zelalem lived for seven years in Bethesda, Md., and played for the Olney Rangers before signing with the Arsenal academy. He is not an American citizen, and he has not appeared in any official matches despite taking part in a couple training camps with the United States under-15 team.

The 16-year-old played in the second half of Arsenal’s 7-0 win over an Indonesian “Dream Team” on Sunday, playing several balls behind the opposition’s defense and generally controlling the center of midfield for the Gunners:

He is eligible to represent Germany, although his parents are from Ethiopia. His family moved to the U.S. in 2006. According to a report in The Washington Post at the time of his signing with Arsenal, Zelalem is eligible and pursuing an American passport through familial ties.

In April, he made his debut for Arsenal’s under-21 team in a 3-2 loss to Liverpool, looking comfortable and fitting in with players up to five years older than him:

The central midfield playmaker has been compared to Cesc Fabregas and Zinedine Zidane, a successful professional career beckoning for his vision and ability on the ball. It seems he has the support of his club and first-team manager Arsène Wenger, who is no stranger to promoting prospects from the academy.


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.