Belgium v United States

On Clint Dempsey, one man as yet unheard from: U.S. national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann


As the Clint Dempsey news boulder continues to roll downhill, we have now heard from the U.S. international himself.  We’ve heard from the Sounders suits about how the blockbuster got stitched together. The chattering class has weighed in, and then some.

We’ve even heard from MLS, kind of anyway, as they walk us back along the trail to point out hidden little rules that were always there, apparently.

The one figure still to be heard from in all this: U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured).

We won’t for a while, either. A U.S. Soccer spokesman told me Tuesday that Klinsmann is vacationing abroad with his family. He will meet up with the team this weekend in Serbia ahead of next week’s match in Sarajevo. So, we’ll probably hear whatever Klinsmann has to say by Sunday or Monday. (The roster will be announced one of those days, too, according to U.S. Soccer.)

What the boss says about this is meaningful, because Dempsey is the U.S. captain and previously the walking, talking, emotional embodiment of what Klinsmann desired as the very bedrock of his program: the constant, dogged pursuit of individual betterment.

Dempsey long ago left the MLS nest for Fulham, with no guarantees. Points proven there, he left the Fulham nest for Tottenham, where the competition for spots reached another level. That’s what Klinsmann wanted from all his U.S. men, that same hard-driving ambition.

So, what will Klinsmann say now?

Here’s what ESPN’s Taylor Twellman had to say on the subject during Sunday’s Soccer Today radio show/podcast (disclosure: it’s a show I co-host):

Publicly he cannot say anything. He cannot come out and say ‘This is a step back for Clint Dempsey’s his career.’ But we know what Jurgen he has said before about going to Europe and pushing yourself, about challenging yourself, being in those spots where you are not guaranteed a [starting] spot.”

By the way, remember that Twellman played alongside Dempsey in New England. Twellman noted that Dempsey “hated” playing on artificial turf. Well, he’s on the stuff in Seattle, perhaps a better version that Gillette Stadium had a few years back. Still, it’s a great point, and something to monitor going forward.

(MORE: Another view of how Dempsey’s move could impact the national team)

Ronaldo shows no sign of injury while hanging with Conor McGregor
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Cristiano Ronaldo may not be ready for the UEFA Super Cup, but he’s no longer limping around.

To explore the Real Madrid superstar’s Instagram is to see Ronaldo, sometimes clothed, hanging out with celebrities.

In the last couple weeks we’ve seen him with Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, and now his “bro” Conor McGregor.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Wait, what?

Yeah, Ronaldo is friends with the MMA star, and showed no ill form (and no brace of any kind) in several posed photos with McGregor.

Although admittedly, McGregor’s IG game is a bit better: The Irish fighter posted a photo of himself sunning in his briefs with the caption, “I’m gonna get him on the Forbes list by next year. But I’m gonna get him on the tan by next week.”

Good luck with both, bro.

Great to see you bro!!💪🏽🔝

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on Jul 24, 2016 at 3:48pm PD

Bruce pens letter to Hull fans: “Desperately wanted to make it work”

YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Steve Bruce manager of  Hull City ahead of the pre-season friendly match between York City and Hull City at Bootham Cresent on July 23, 2014  in York, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
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Many Hull City fans didn’t want Steve Bruce to leave the club, and this open letter shows why.

After leaving the club by “mutual consent” on Friday — it was first widely reported that he quit — fans protested at Hull’s game on Monday.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Bruce may’ve had his problems with Hull’s ownership, but he certainly got his supporters’ feelings right down to the core.

From the Hull Daily Mail:

My biggest regret is having to walk away but it was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club. The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.

I desperately wanted to make it work this summer and be a Premier League manager again but, sadly, it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I’ve left Hull City with some fantastic memories that I’ll always cherish, including just eight weeks ago in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Class from the longtime boss, and we imagine he’ll have a job very soon if he wants it.

Report: Everton to activate release clause of Stoke’s Arnautovic

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Marko Arnautovic (1st L) of Stoke City competes for the ball against Seamus Coleman (2nd L) and Gareth Barry (1st Rof Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park on December 28, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
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Everton is going to activate Marko Arnautovic‘s $16 million release clause to bring the Stoke City striker to Goodison Park, according to a report out of Austria.

Stoke had been trying to sign Arnautovic to a contract extension, but the player was reportedly prepared to play out the final year of his deal.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

The huge 27-year-old Austrian has been with Stoke since 2013, and broke through with 11 Premier League goals last season.

Arnautovic would give Everton support behind Romelu Lukaku, and insurance in case the Toffees do wind up selling their Belgian striker. Everton also has Arouna Kone as a potential target forward, but Oumar Niasse is expecting to leave after less than a year at Goodison Park.

Chelsea wins the League… of Hate; Bournemouth, Leicester not hated

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium on February 27, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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A family of English newspapers conducted its annual survey of which teams are the most hated in the Premier League, and there’s a new champion.

Manchester United has dropped to second in the table to Chelsea in what the Manchester Evening News called the “League of Hate”.

[ MORE: Rooney’s England position not set ]

According to the MEN, 10,000 fans were quizzed on their love and hate:

A national survey asked fans of each top flight club which sides they hate, and which they love, and the west London club came out as the most disliked club overall.

United, who won the dubious accolade last year, have been revealed to be the next most reviled side.

It’s no surprise that the league’s more successful sides sit atop the table while newer PL clubs like Bournemouth and Burnley are not reviled. That said, Leicester’s dream story has them 19th. How much more success do they need to have before shooting up the hate table?

Here’s the Top Five, and all results:

1) Chelsea
2) Manchester United
3) Liverpool
4) Manchester City
5) Arsenal