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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Arrogance Is Just an Act ... Says Galaxy Teammate

5/12/2018 12:15 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Here's a disappointment ... turns out Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrogant ways are all for show ... because his Galaxy teammate Sebastian Lletget says the Big Z is a big sweetie, and a GREAT teammate.

Remember it was Zlatan who announced his arrival in L.A. with a full page ad in the L.A. Times that simply said "You're Welcome" ... but when we got Lletget out at LAX, he told us not to believe the hype.

"He's not arrogant," Lletget says. "He's a good teammate."

He went on to gush about Zlatan -- praising him a solid dude behind the scenes. 

Not sure if we believe this ... remember, it was Zlatan who dissed U.S. soccer on the streets of L.A. back in '14, and it was Zlatan who once said, "I can't help but laugh at how perfect I am."

If it's a lie ... we choose to believe the lie.

D.C. United Coach Shades Alexi Lalas Over Wayne Rooney Diss

5/10/2018 3:07 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Soccer BEEF!!!!

D.C United coach Ben Olsen clearly wasn't too pleased about Alexi Lalas' comments on Wayne Rooney -- because now he's throwing some shade of his own. 

Earlier this week, Lalas told us he wasn't too pumped about the MLS team working on a deal with Rooney -- because the guy's essentially a has-been

"For me, Wayne Rooney doesn't move the needle," Lalas said ... "It might fill some seats, but not that many seats."

Olsen tells TMZ Sports ... the deal with Rooney isn't done yet -- but he's already going to bat for the striker ... with a shot at Lalas. 

FYI, Lalas and Olsen have known each other for years -- in fact, they were both founding members of the MLS Players Union back in 2003.  

Alexi Lalas Wayne Rooney's a Has-Been ... Won't Move Needle In MLS

5/9/2018 1:49 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

A lot of people are excited about the rumors surrounding Wayne Rooney possibly signing with D.C. United and playing in the MLS. 

Alexi Lalas is not one of those people. 

Lalas is usually stoked about bringing European soccer legends to the states -- just like David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

But when it comes to Wayne ... Alexi ain't feelin' it. 

"For me, Wayne Rooney doesn't move the needle," Lalas said. 

"It might fill some seats, but not that many seats."

Lalas says Rooney was a baller in his prime ... but his prime is in the past -- even though Rooney's only 32 years old. 

Rooney was a beast back in the day -- in fact, he's the Premier League's 2nd leading scorer of all time with 208 goals. 

MLS Team Threatens Fans Over Homophobic Chants

5/1/2018 8:08 AM PDT
Breaking News

The LAFC team wants to KILL a soccer fan tradition of chanting a homophobic slur at players during goal kicks ... and says any fan who uses the word will be immediately banned from the stadium. 

The threat came hours after the newest MLS expansion team played its first game at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday ... when they beat the Seattle Sounders 1-0. 

During the game, fans could be heard chanting the word "p*to" -- a word that many people and organizations, including OutSports.com, have labeled a gay slur. 

Now, the LAFC is laying down the gauntlet ... saying any fan who uses the word moving forward will get the boot. 

"The offensive goal kick chant is wrong and not what we are about," team officials said in a statement. 

"We ask that all of our fans and Supporters work to hold each other accountable to eliminate this from Banc of California Stadium."

"Any fans identified as participating in this offensive chanting will be removed from the stadium and the Club will revoke their season membership."

"LAFC and its Supporters will continue to actively work together to enforce a zero-tolerance policy at Banc of California Stadium. Together, let’s win in the stands." 

Usain Bolt 'Door Is Open' for Olympic Return ... But Unlikely

4/27/2018 12:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

So you're saying there's a chance!!!

Usain Bolt tells TMZ Sports ... the "door is open" to unretire and compete in the 2020 Olympics -- but right now he doesn't have the urge. 

"I don't think so," Bolt said when asked about a return to the track ... "But when I see competition I definitely feel like I want to."

"I don't have the urge right now. Maybe when it comes around to the Olympics you never know ... but right now I don't."

Instead, Bolt says he's dead serious about pursuing a soccer career ... with real hopes of joining a pro team -- possibly in the MLS. 

In the meantime, Bolt is also challenging less physically athletic people to a video game war through the Xbox Game Pass Challenge ... and he's talking smack!!! 

Justin Bieber Sucks At Soccer ... Says Ex-Team USA Coach

4/22/2018 12:25 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Everyone who thinks Justin Bieber's soccer skills are legit have been living a damn lie ... because former USA coach Bruce Arena says the Biebs just ain't got it. 

We got Arena out at LAX and wanted to know what an expert (even though we missed the World Cup, he's an expert) thought about Bieber's prowess on the pitch.

Our guy showed Arena some video -- then asked if he thought Biebs was any good at soccer. Unfortunately for Justin, the old coach kept it 100%, A-1, 24 carat real.

"I don't think that. I think he's better off doing what he's doing."

Don't be mad at us Justin ... we tried to remind Bruce that you're friends with Neymar and asked if you could maybe make the MLS if Neymar helped -- but Arena had a simple answer to that too.

"No."

It's not too late to say you're sorry Bruce ... TO ALL AMERICANS FOR MISSING THE FREAKIN' WORLD CUP!

Alexi Lalas Usain Bolt Would Flop in MLS But I'd Still Love to See It!

4/20/2018 12:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Usain Bolt's futbol dreams just got red-carded by one of the biggest stars in American soccer ... who says The World's Fastest Man would get smoked in the MLS!!

We got Alexi Lalas at LAX, and filled him in on Usain telling Major League soccer teams to, "bring the big contracts."

Alexi loves that Bolt's trying to do something different ... but the Team USA legend clearly ain't buying Usain as the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"Just because you're a good athlete doesn't mean you're good in a particular sport," Lalas told TMZ Sports.

"Soccer's a lot different than just being fast and being able to kick the ball."

Ouch.

That said, Alexi says he'd love to see Usain put his best foot-y forward -- just as long as him and Ibra don't squad up!

"That's a lot of ego -- they're gonna have to get a second locker room."

Rachel Platten Turns National Anthem Into National Disaster

4/16/2018 10:43 AM PDT
Breaking News

Hey Fergie, you're off the hook ... 

Pop star Rachel Platten -- the chick who sang "Fight Song" -- botched the National Anthem in a SPECTACULAR way at an NWSL soccer game over the weekend ... and it's hard to watch. 

Platten has performed the song on big stages before -- even singing it at the World Series! 

But when she grabbed the mic in Salt Lake City on Saturday before the Chicago Red Stars took on the Utah Royals ... it was amateur hour. 

It started bad ... "Oh say can you see, by the STARS early light."

It got worse ... she had to restart twice and even asked for someone to give her the lyrics. The crowd tried to join in and help her along, but the lyric blowing must have been contagious, because they were messing up too! 

She eventually recovered and finished ... but good lord. 

Usain Bolt Message to MLS Teams: 'Bring the Big Contracts!'

4/16/2018 12:40 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Usain Bolt says he ain't ruling out the MLS for his budding pro soccer career -- IF their squads show him the money!! 

FYI, Bolt's been seriously pursuing footy since he retired from the track last year. Most recently, he was out tearin' up the pitch with Bundesliga's Borussia Dortmund ... and Manchester United is his dream team.

But when we got the World's Fastest Man at LAX, we had to ask if MLS teams like the L.A. Galaxy even had a shot. 

Bolt's response -- "Bring the big contracts!" 

Guessing MLS can't offer Premier League money ... but there are other perks that come with playing in L.A. (right, Zlatan Ibrahimovic?). 

Bonus: We also asked Usain if he would consider the 2020 Olympics if the whole soccer thing doesn't pan out ... and he let us know. 

Ex-Team USA Soccer Coach Bruce Arena ... I Regret Nothing!

4/14/2018 12:05 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Regrets? Bruce Arena doesn't have a few ... even though Team USA didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup. 

Now that it's been a couple of months since the heartbreaking and shocking failure ... we asked the former Team USA head coach if he had any regrets for the way things went down during the qualifiers. 

"I don't have any regrets," Arena told us ... "I'm disappointed, but I don't have any regrets."

'I and my staff and the players ... we gave everything we had and we fell short."

The good news -- Arena is VERY stoked about one of the young Team USA stars and says we've got a real shot to make a run in 2022. 

So, who will Arena be rooting for in the 2018 World Cup now that we're not competing?

Hint: It's a North American squad. 

NY Red Bulls Insane Fan Brawl Dude Gets Spartan-Kicked!

4/11/2018 10:34 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Fists were flying, beer was thrown and a dude got KICKED DOWN THE STANDS during a brawl at the NY Red Bulls game on Tuesday ... and TMZ Sports has the crazy video. 

Sources in the stands tell us ... Red Bulls fans had been getting into it with Chivas Guadalajara supporters during the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal at Red Bulls Arena in NJ all game long. 

But, things finally came to a head after time expired when the smack talk turned physical. 

You can see beer flying from everywhere -- including people from the upper level showering the fighters below them. 

The craziest moment ... one of the combatants kicked another dude right in the chest -- sending him flying backwards down several rows of seats. 

Stadium security eventually showed up and broke up the violence -- but you can see several people had already suffered injuries by the time help arrived. 

We've reached out to the Red Bulls and stadium security -- so far, no comment from anyone. 

By the way ... the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Tim Howard Booty King At Dallas Strip Club!

4/9/2018 11:04 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tim Howard's a goalie ... so, unlike everyone else, he's allowed to use his hands -- even at the strip club! 

The Team USA soccer legend was living it up at the legendary V Live over the weekend -- where we're told the dancers and the staff FREAKED OUT (in a good way) when they saw him walk in! 

Side note -- apparently, soccer is huge in the Texas stripper community. 

He bumped, he grinded ... he threw out thousands of dollars in cash -- everyone had a great time! 

Howard and the Colorado Rapids were in Texas to face FC Dallas on Saturday ... and even though the game ended in a draw, Howard was clearly in the mood to celebrate. 

He'll have plenty of time to come back and visit later this year ... since, you know, Team USA won't be busy with the World Cup or anything ... 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ronaldo's Goal Is 'Best Ever'

4/5/2018 6:19 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Legend respect legend -- with Zlatan Ibrahimovic telling TMZ Sports ... Cristiano Ronaldo's insane bicycle kick is the best goal of all time.

Ronaldo's incredible goal against Juventes during a Champions League quarter final match on Wednesday has already gone viral. Ronaldo himself suggested it was the greatest shot of his career. 

So, when we saw Zlatan leaving Il Pastaio in Bev Hills Wednesday night, we had to ask where he would rank the goal among the greatest of all time. 

"It was fantastic ... best ever!" 

He's not the only soccer legend who feels that way -- Zinedine Zidane described the shot as "one of the most beautiful in history."

But, was it better than Zlatan's own amazing 40-yard bomb he hit against the LAFC over the weekend during his MLS debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy? 

We asked ... and got a rare moment of humility from the guy who previously said he was "born a legend."

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