Vardy almost quit Leicester to become Ibiza club rep

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To be fair, Jamie Vardy really does love a party…

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The Leicester City and England star is back in form with four goals in four games since new manager Craig Shakespeare took over from Claudio Ranieri and Vardy has a lot more to thank Shakespeare for than just regaining his scoring touch in recent weeks

Vardy, 30, has once again scored the goals to help the Foxes pull clear of the relegation zone but his new boss has revealed that the striker almost left Leicester to be a bar promoter on the Mediterranean party island of Ibiza. Seriously.

Speaking ahead of the reigning champs’ game against Sunderland on Tuesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET online via NBCSports.com) Shakespeare revealed that when he was assistant manager at Leicester in 2013 Vardy was close to calling it quits when he first joined the then second-tier club from Fleetwood Town.

“At that time Jamie would be the first to admit he was going through a rough patch and myself Nigel and Steve [Walsh, fellow assistant-manager] sat him down and told him about his attributes and that we thought he could go on. We not only mentioned he was capable of playing in the Premier League, we said he also had the attributes to play for the national team.

“Thankfully he didn’t go to Ibiza and it’s fair to say he made the right decision, considering how well he has done. Our job is to support players. Sometimes they do have self-doubt.”

So, there you have it.

Turns out we know exactly why Vardy had a hankering for some vodka flavored Skittles and a shot of port before games. He probably planned on selling them on the main strip in Ibiza…

After he decided to stay at Leicester, things worked out pretty well for Vardy.

He’s scored 60 goals in 181 appearances for the Foxes, become a regular for the England national team, won the Premier League title and reached the last eight of the Champions League as well signing a huge new contract for over $125,000 per week and he has a Hollywood movie being made about his incredible rise to stardom from the lower reaches of English soccer.

Still, as soon as he retires we know where Vardy is heading.

Photo: Flamengo supporter tattoos club jersey on body

MAURÍCIO DOS ANJOS VIA VICE
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A supporter in Brazil has taken fandom to a whole new level with a piece of body art that shows his devotion to the club.

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Maurício dos Anjos, a passionate Flamengo fan, has been a life-long supporter of the Rio de Janeiro-based club, and has the tattoo to prove it.

While it may look like body paint, Dos Anjos has a tattoo on the upper-half of his body depicting the Flamengo jersey, and it’s pretty awesome.

“People ask me if I don’t find it strange that I’m always wearing a Flamengo shirt. And I just don’t,” dos Anjos told VICE. “To me, it’s normal. But it doesn’t seem like anyone I talk to about it actually dislikes my tattoo.”

In total, Dos Anjos says the body work took over 90 hours and 30 sessions to complete the tattoo.

Has the perception of MLS really changed?

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When David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles back in 2007 his presence changed the complexion of Major League Soccer for all the right reasons, and the perception of the growing league changed.

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Over the years, MLS has strived to move into the upper-echelon of the global game, in an attempt to compete with the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, but naysayers still indicate to this day that the United States’ top flight lacks the quality of the aforementioned.

Phrases like “retirement league” and “uninspired” have been used to describe MLS in the past, particularly when it comes to the league’s willingness to spend boatloads of cash on notable players well past their prime.

Examples such as Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard and Rafael Marquez have at times dampened the perception of MLS due to the lack of quality on the pitch from those players, along with several others that had previously boasted extensive resumes.

Now, we’re at a time where MLS has picked up its scouting, with clubs focused more on younger, more skilled talents from South America and Europe.

That has led to major signings over the past several years, such as Ezequiel Barco, Miguel Almiron, Diego Rossi and Jesus Medina, to name a few.

Has that changed the overall complexion of MLS though?

On Thursday, Kevin De Bruyne‘s agent, Patrick de Koster, suggested in an interview that the Belgium international would likely “finish” his career in MLS.

“For now, he’s very happy at this club,” De Koster said. “We always look what the best solution for the player, both financially and football wise. Kevin’s future? I can see him finish at Los Angeles.”

This comes on the heels of a 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the LA Galaxy in a move that has sent shockwaves across the league and the world because of the Swede’s great presence on a global scale.

It’s not to say that players like Ibrahimovic, or previous signings like David Villa and Didier Drogba cannot help the overall growth of MLS, because they certainly bring an awareness to the matches and draw attention to their respective clubs.

However, the long-term viability of MLS has been and will continue to be sustained on youth players succeeding in the league, as well as being able to draw promising young talents into the top flight of the U.S.

Report: USMNT likely to face Brazil, Mexico in September friendlies

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The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.

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ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.

The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.

Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.

The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.

The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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