The 48-team “The Soccer Tournament” (TST) kicked off in 2023, featuring a professional side from Wrexham, owned by Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds. Cary, North Carolina, soccer grounds will host this year's tournament again.
Who's ready for Nani FC?
Current teammates of Turkish Super Lig side Adana Demirspor, Balotelli, and Nani will follow fellow professional players who starred in the World Cup-style tournament last year.
Nani is spearheading the creation of the squad, dubbed “Nani FC,” using his Turkish and international connections. 37-year-old Nani made 113 appearances with Portugal, including winning the UEFA European Championship in 2016 with Ronaldo. A four-time Premier League and one-time Champions League winner with Manchester United, the Portuguese winger previously played for MLS side Orland City SC in 2019.
While he may not be able to woo CR7 to the 7-aside tournament, he'll be reaching out to former Portugal teammates Bruno Alves and Manuel Fernandez.
“We know the team who won last year was a team that did not have so many famous players in the team,” Nani told ESPN.
“So that means, the names don't matter. The most important part is the physically. If the players have quality and they have energy to perform during the competition, because — I believe there is a lot of games. One after another. You need to rest.
“And I think the team who takes the competition most serious, will be the team who have more chances. I don't believe my team will be so, so serious on that. But I believe we can show some good quality football there for the fans and the people who will follow us to enjoy.”
Everyone remembers the last time Mario Balotelli played stateside. 13 years ago, the former Manchester City forward was immediately substituted by then-boss Roberto Mancini after erring on a trick shot.
We're not ashamed to say we'd love to see more of this sh*thousery this summer.