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USMNT’s John Brooks secures record move to Wolfsburg

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U.S. Men’s National Team centerback John Brooks has a new club, and he’s reportedly broken an American record in the process.

Wolfsburg announced Wednesday that it had signed Brooks on a five-year contract from Hertha Berlin, with Brooks moving for a reported $22.46 million according to German publication Kicker. If the report is true, it would be a new American transfer record, breaking Jozy Altidore‘s €10 million fee that Sunderland paid for him from AZ Alkmaar.

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“The decision to leave my home-town wasn’t an easy one, but having spoken with Olaf Rebbe and Andries Jonker, I really wanted the move to Wolfsburg, because they both quickly convinced me of their plans with VfL,” Brooks said in a statement. “I want to play my part in helping VfL to repeat the success they have enjoyed in recent years.”

The 24-year-old defender had been with Hertha Berlin since 2007, and went on to make 119 league appearances for the Blue-Whites. Since making his debut for the USMNT in 2013, Brooks has made 30 appearances and scored three goals, including the famous game-winning goal against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“We are delighted about the signing of John Anthony Brooks. In securing his services, we have strengthened our defense with a highly talented and ambitious individual. At just 24, he also brings a great deal of experience,” Wolfsburg’s sporting director Rebbe said.

On its face the move seems strange, aside from the likely pay raise that Brooks is getting. Wolfsburg needed to beat out Eintracht Braunschweig to avoid relegation following a disastrous season in which it gave up 52 goals, scored only 34 in 34 games and recorded just 37 points. Meanwhile, Hertha qualified for the UEFA Europa League, finishing in sixth place in the Bundesliga with 48 points.

But it was a down year for some of Germany’s recent traditional powers, including Schalke (10th place), Bayer Leverkusen (12th place) and Werder Bremen (eighth place).

Wolfsburg was UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists in 2015 and 2016 and won the German Cup in 2016, but struggled mightily this past season despite a reported $89 million spent on signings. Unloading some of the disappointing players and bringing in some new goal scorers will be high on the team’s short list after securing Brooks.

Brooks was called in to USMNT manager Bruce Arena’s World Cup qualifying training camp last Sunday. The U.S. faces Venezuela in a friendly match on Saturday before taking on Trinidad and Tobago in Commerce City, Colo. on June 8 and then traveling to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico to face El Tri on June 11.

Adidas reveals away kits for Mexico, Argentina, 7 other World Cup squads

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Fans of El Tri, La Albiceleste, Die Mannschaft and more can now get their hands on another set of 2018 World Cup jerseys.

Adidas unveiled the latest designs for the away kits of nine World Cup squads, including Mexico, Argentina and the defending champions Germany, with some of the team’s star players modeling the kits. Carlos Vela, Lionel Messi and Toni Kroos are all pictured in Adidas’ photo shoots with the new kits, and the uniforms are inspired by the kits worn at previous World Cups.

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Sweden, Colombia, Japan, Belgium and the host nation Russia are also included.

“For adidas, the World Cup has always been the stage to showcase some of our most iconic products, innovations and designs,” Juergen Rank, Senior Design Director said in a statement. “Many of these classic designs remain hugely popular with fans, and we want to continue to celebrate them while introducing new innovations, combining authenticity with progression.

“The new official World Cup away kits feature both the latest product technologies to ensure peak performance on the pitch and easily identifiable classic looks, making them perfectly suited to both the stadium and the street.”

Check out the latest kit release from Adidas below.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

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The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.