Zlatan Ibrahimovic Nosedives Off Superyacht ... On Saint-Tropez Vacay

LOOK OUT BELOW!!!

International soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic is making a big splash on vacation with his family in Saint-Tropez ... by jumping off an expensive-ass yacht into the water below.

38-year-old Ibra has been getting some quality R&R while on vacay this week ... alongside wife Helena Seger and sons Maximilian and Vincent.

Now, if you know anything about Zlatan, he considers himself to be the greatest soccer player to walk the earth ... but the cocky footballer says he ain't just limited to land!!

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"Lion on land, shark at sea," Ibrahimovic said on Instagram.

If we're talking form, Ibrahimovic ain't too shabby!! He's probably up there with Conor McGregor's diving abilities ... and much better than Jay-Z for sure, (sorry, Hov).

But, in true Zlatan form, the AC Milan forward wasn't ALL play while getting rays on the yacht -- he's been working out on the deck to prove he's staying in pristine shape.

The exercises appear to be working ... 'cause the dude looks RIPPED!!!

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Enjoy the fun in the sun, Zlatan!

Natalie Portman, Serena Williams Launching Women's Soccer Team in L.A. ... Tons of Stars Involved

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There's a huge group of super powerful women teaming up to bring pro women's soccer to L.A. by 2022 ... including Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, Eva Longoria and more!

The group is calling itself Angel City -- and they're working with the National Women's Soccer League to establish the city's first pro team.

The NWSL is the women's version of the MLS -- but they only have 9 teams throughout the country in cities like Portland, Orlando, Tacoma, etc.

But, the Angel City group claims there's heavy fan demand in Los Angeles ... and they're rallying together to get a team here, stat.

The lead investors are Portman, technology mogul Kara Nortman, gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Ohanian is married to Serena Williams -- who is part of a smaller investment group affiliated with the team which includes a TON of other big names.

Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner, Uzo Aduba and Lilly Singh are on board -- along with soccer legends Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Shannon Boxx and more.

"Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group," Portman said.

"I am thrilled by the opportunity to partner with this incredible group of people to bring a professional women’s soccer team to Los Angeles."

"Together, we aim to build not only a winning team on the field, but also to develop a passionately loyal fan base. We also hope to make a substantive impact on our community, committing to extending access to sports for young people in Los Angeles through our relationship with the LA84 Foundation."

"Sports are such a joyful way to bring people together, and this has the power to make tangible change for female athletes both in our community and in the professional sphere.”

So far, the organization has not announced a team name or logo -- but plan on releasing that info sometime soon.

The top players from Team USA's World Cup winning team all play in the NWSL -- from Alex Morgan to Carly Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.

Ballon d'Or Trophy Soccer's MVP Award Canceled In 2020 ... Over Coronavirus

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An MVP of the soccer world will NOT be crowned this season ... Ballon d'Or trophy presenters say they've scrapped the 2020 iteration of the prize -- and it's all 'cause of COVID.

The award -- similar to college football's Heisman Trophy -- has been given out to the men's game's best EVERY YEAR since 1956 ... and is considered soccer's highest honor.

Legends like Luis Suarez, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho have all won the hardware in the past ... and dudes like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were gunning to win it for the 7th and 6th times, respectively, this season.

But, the people responsible for doling out the trophy say the 2020 version will be forever vacant ... saying the coronavirus pandemic forced them to cancel the award this year.

The trophy presenters say the virus has simply impacted soccer too greatly all across the globe for them to properly and fairly announce a winner.

"How do you compare the incomparable?" officials said in a statement Monday.

They added, "We will always prefer a small sprain (to our history) to a large scar. It was the first time since 1956 that the Ballon d'Or had taken a break."

"The parenthesis does not enchant us but seems to us the most responsible and logical. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time."

The women's Ballon d'Or, which was given out for the first time in 2018, was also scrapped this season due to the pandemic.

Major League Soccer Players Take Knee, Raise Fists ... In Pre-Game Tribute

TAKING A KNEE
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Powerful moment on the field at the Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC game in Orlando where ALL of the players took a knee in a powerful moment of silence right before kickoff.

Even the ref got down on a knee.

Some players raised a clenched fist -- including Chicago Fire striker C.J. Sapong.

As the camera panned around the field, we didn't see one person -- players, coaches, linesmen, etc -- who didn't participate in the tribute.

After roughly 30 seconds, the ref blew the whistle, people stood and clapped -- and play began.

Obviously, the kneeling is to put a spotlight on police brutality and racial injustice ... clearly inspired by Colin Kaepernick.

Interesting to note, the national anthem was NOT playing during the kneeling demonstration.

The game is part of the MLS is Back tournament -- currently taking place inside of a bubble environment in Orlando, Florida.

Just last week, players from Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF held a similar tribute before they kicked off ... only that one lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a way to put a spotlight on George Floyd.

Teen Soccer Player Hit By Lightning Bolt On Field ... Insane Explosion Caught On Video

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A teenage soccer player had to fight for his life after being struck by a lightning bolt on a pitch in Moscow this month ... and the terrifying incident was all caught on video.

The footballer, ID'd as 16-year-old Ivan Zaborovsky, was warming up for a workout around the penalty box ... when suddenly, a crack of lightning shot down from the sky and exploded on him.

The clip is insane ... you can see the bolt hit him and release a fireball around him.

Zaborovsky immediately collapsed on the field ... and after trainers, teammates and coaches rushed to his aid -- he was transported to the hospital.

Multiple reports say Zaborovsky went into a coma after the strike and suffered serious burns ... but reports add signs for a recovery have been encouraging.

In fact, the club Zaborovsky plays for says it's been in contact with the boy's father and Zaborovsky's "eyes are reacting, he is answering commands, his return to the team is positive, he will play."

Scary incident ... get well soon!!

As we previously reported, a pro video gamer in the U.S. was struck by lightning while INSIDE her house earlier this month.

Despite some intense pain at first, she's basically recovered -- though her controller was melted in the process.

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FC Dallas Out Of MLS Restart Tourney Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

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FC Dallas has just been kicked out of the MLS' restart tournament ... citing a major coronavirus outbreak within the organization.

The league is hosting its MLS Is Back tournament at ESPN's Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando starting this week ... as a way to pick back up where things left off in March.

But, the bad news for FCD -- the team had 11 cases (10 players and 1 coach) test positive while in Orlando ... forcing the MLS to step in and stop the team from participating.

FCD head coach Luchi Gonzalez addressed the move ... saying, "As we continue to focus on the well-being of our players, coaches and staff who are in isolation in Orlando, we understand it is not in their best interests to compete at this time."

"While we’re disappointed, the health and safety of our traveling delegation as well as our league partners is our highest priority."

So, FCD is out of the restart tourney ... but the team can still re-join the rest of the season once everyone is healthy again.

Wear your masks, people.

MLS 'Fyre Fest' Sando Pics Are BS ... Not From Inside Disney Bubble!

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Major League Soccer says its players are NOT getting the Fyre Festival treatment inside the Disney bubble -- claiming the players who posted sad sandwich pics are NOT inside the restricted area.

Toronto FC defender Omar Gonzalez posted a pic Tuesday showing an "MLS Is Back" In-Room dining menu which describes some delicious-looking, expensive food options ($65 for lunch!) ... cut next to an unimpressive sando in a brown box.

He tweeted out, "Yummm" ... leading people to believe the widely-touted Disney bubble was looking more like a sham than a glamorous experience.

Omar's teammate Eriq Zavaleta added fuel to the fire by posting another unappetizing sandwich pic. Not a great look.

But, our MLS sources tell us ... those two players are not yet in Orlando -- they're still in Toronto.

The league is unsure who shot the photos -- but reps say the food was served at a quarantine site OUTSIDE the official bubble where players are required to stay for 10 to 12 hours until they are cleared to enter.

There is basic food service at the quarantine site -- like sandwiches, etc -- but since it's essentially a layover spot, the food service isn't as robust.

Once players are allowed into the Walt Disney World bubble environment, it's a completely different story.

We're told players will get "banquet meal" service served in their club meal rooms -- and so far, the feedback on the food has been super positive.

Also, all players will have access to 4 restaurants in the bubble -- including Shula’s Steak House, Todd English Bluezoo, Il Mulino, and Kimonos sushi restaurant.

We're also told, "Players do not pay for meals."

So, yeah ... the travel meal might not be the fanciest food in the world, but MLS insists they're not pulling a Billy McFarland.

Leeds United Removes Bin Laden Cutout from Stands ... Oops!!!

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A Championship league soccer team is backtracking big time after they used a cardboard cutout of Osama Bin Laden to fill seats at a game this week ... yeah, BIG PROBLEM!!!

Leeds United had banned live fans from attending games during the COVID-19 pandemic ... but welcomed supporters to send in photos which they would place in the seats to simulate a crowd.

Someone sent in Bin Laden -- and NO ONE CAUGHT IT.

So, when Leeds took the field to play Cardiff City at Elland Road stadium on Sunday ... there was the world's most hated dead terrorist sitting right in the front row.

A spokesperson for Leeds United told BBC the team "will ensure there are no more offensive images" used in the future.

And, to add insult to embarrassment, Leeds lost the game 2-0.

Of course, the real OBL was killed by U.S. Navy SEALS during a raid on his compound in 2011.

His body was later dumped in the ocean.

Semi-Pro Soccer Team Axes National Anthem Before Games For 'This Land Is Your Land'

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A semi-pro soccer club is taking Bruce Arena's advice ... swapping out the national anthem before games for another tune.

National Premier Soccer League team Tulsa Athletic announced Wednesday its decision to eliminate the "Star-Spangled Banner" from pre-game activities at home games  ... saying it will play "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie instead.

Why? Here's the statement from the club ...

"After carefully reviewing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' lyrics and meaning, including the 3rd verse which mentions 'No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave ... ' Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values."

"While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe 'The Star-Spangled Banner' represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community."

"We believe 'This Land Is Your Land' not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way."

Tulsa Athletic co-owner Sonny Dalesandro says TLIYL "speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for."

The team will kick off its new tradition during a special Equality Cup match against Minneapolis City at Veterans Park in Tulsa. No date has been set.

Of course, the news comes in the wake of ex-Team USA Soccer coach Bruce Arena saying the playing of the national anthem before games is "inappropriate."

"Think about it," Arena said. "In Major League Soccer, most of the players that are standing on the field during the national anthem are international players. They are not even Americans."

Manchester City vs. Burnley 'White Lives Matter' Banner Flown At Game ... Police Investigating

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An airplane toting a "White Lives Matter" banner flew over Manchester City's soccer game against Burnley on Monday ... and now, cops say they're investigating.

The scene was disturbing ... just minutes after players took a knee to show support of the Black Lives Matter movement -- the plane circled around Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England.

Reports say the banner was visible for several minutes ... and players -- who have all decided to replace their last names on their jerseys with the words "Black Lives Matter" -- said afterward they were sickened by the message.

Now, cops have vowed to launch a probe into the matter ... writing in a statement Tuesday morning, "We are making enquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident."

"We will then be in a position to make an assessment as to whether any criminal offences have taken place."

Burnley's officials also condemned the banner -- which was allegedly paid for by a Burnley fan -- writing in a statement of their own, "This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for."

"We will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans."

Burnley star player Jay Rodriguez added after the game, "We as a group of players condemn it, we're ashamed, we're embarrassed."

Ex-USMNT Coach Bruce Arena Remove Pregame National Anthems ... 'It Is Inappropriate'

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Bruce Arena -- the former head coach for the U.S. Men's National Team -- is calling for an end to pregame Star-Spangled Banner renditions ... saying straight-up "it is inappropriate."

"I think it puts people in awkward positions," Arena told ESPN this week. "We don't use national anthem in movie theaters or on Broadway, or for other events in the United States."

"I don't think it is appropriate to have a national anthem before a baseball game or an MLS game."

Don't get it twisted, Arena -- a New York native and a current coach in the MLS -- says he's as patriotic as they come and understands why players kneel during the song.

But, Arena makes it clear he believes the whole thing is just unnecessary ... kneeling controversy or not.

"Think about it," Arena said. "In Major League Soccer, most of the players that are standing on the field during the national anthem are international players. They are not even Americans."

"So why are we playing the national anthem? With all due respect, I live in the greatest country in the world but I think it is inappropriate."

Of course, back in 2016 and 2017 at the height of the kneeling protests in the NFL ... some pundits suggested doing away with the anthems altogether to assuage the issue.

Doesn't seem that idea's gained much traction since ... in fact, Roger Goodell seemed to indicate in an apology video to NFL players this month he's open to allowing players to kneel during the song in 2020.

Soccer's Tyrell Robinson Pleads Guilty In Child Sex Case Alleged 14-Yr-Old Victim

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Tyrell Robinson -- a former winger for legendary soccer club Arsenal -- is now facing prison time after pleading guilty to allegations he performed sexual acts with a 14-year-old.

22-year-old Robinson, according to multiple reports, showed up to Bradford Crown Court in England on Tuesday to fess up to the charges.

The ex-Bradford City player reportedly admitted to engaging in sexual activities back in August 2018 with a 14-year-old ... while also admitting he made and distributed an indecent picture of a child as well.

It should be noted Robinson did DENY a charge in court that he distributed an indecent photo of a child back in 2017 ... and prosecutors are not moving forward with that charge.

But, a judge told him he now faces time behind bars over his guilty pleas ... saying incarceration will be on the table at a sentencing hearing at a later date.

Details surrounding the alleged 2018 incident with the 14-year-old are unclear ... but authorities said early in the case they were hitting Robinson with an "engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a child" charge.

Robinson, who will reportedly be on a sex offenders' registry after his guilty pleas, was seen leaving court in a black mask and red, puffy jacket.

The former Arsenal player had a very promising start to his career on the international pitch ... before criminal charges ultimately derailed his tenure as a pro player.

Premier League Players Kneel At Start Of Game To Honor George Floyd

The Premier League is finally back after 100 days off due to COVID-19 ... and the players made a profound statement at kick-off by taking a knee to honor George Floyd.

All players for Aston Villa and Sheffield United -- as well as the referees -- participated in the demonstration on Wednesday ... showing solidarity with the fight against police brutality and social injustice.

Along with taking a knee, all players are wearing "Black Lives Matter" on the back of their jerseys.

The EPL acknowledged the gesture on Twitter ... saying, "There is #NoRoomForRacism, anywhere."

The players made their intentions clear in a joint statement last week ... saying, "We, the Players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for All, regardless of their colour or creed."

"This symbol is a sign of unity from all Players, all Staff, all Clubs, all Match Officials and the Premier League #blacklivesmatter #playerstogether."

Premier League Reveals 'Black Lives Matter' Jerseys ... For Restarted Season

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Every team in the Premier League will wear "Black Lives Matter" threads when the season restarts ... with the powerful message replacing names on the back of players' shirts.

Check out one of the kits posted by Sheffield United on Tuesday ... the unis not only feature "BLM" on the nameplates, they also have a "Black Lives Matter" patch on the sleeve.

Players from all 20 teams came up with the idea to show solidarity with the movement earlier this month ... and will wear the special jerseys for the first 12 games once the season returns from COVID-19 suspension.

The players released a statement on the decision, saying, "We, the Players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for All, regardless of their colour or creed."

"This symbol is a sign of unity from all Players, all Staff, all Clubs, all Match Officials and the Premier League #blacklivesmatter #playerstogether."

The league also addressed the players' statement, saying it will support those who decide to take knees in protest.

Ben Carson We'll Work With President Trump On Kneeling Stance ... 'He'll Get There'

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Ben Carson believes President Donald Trump could soften his stance on athletes kneeling for the national anthem ... saying he'll "work with" POTUS to understand the message.

Of course, Trump has been one of the most outspoken critics against kneeling ... and recently said he'd stop watching soccer and football if protests continued.

POTUS also famously said to fire any "son of a bitch" who knelt, back in 2017.

Carson -- the Housing and Urban Development Secretary and the only black member of Trump's cabinet -- discussed the issue on the Hugh Hewitt Show ... saying he will try to get POTUS to understand the real reason behind the movement.

"Well, I don't think he has manifested as much animosity in that region lately," Carson said Monday. "And, I think we just continue to work with him. He'll get there."

The national anthem protest has become a major topic of discussion following the death of George Floyd ... with NFL names like Adrian Peterson, Baker Mayfield and Bill O'Brien saying they will kneel this upcoming season.

NFL commish Roger Goodell even admitted the league mishandled the protests in a recent video ... and said he encourages any team to sign Colin Kaepernick.

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