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Wednesday Freedom Kicks: Electric Relaxation

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We have Diego Maradona begging Lionel Messi to not retire, the new USWNT Olympic kits, Barca and Real Madrid hoping to sign a Brazilian talent and more in today's Freedom Kicks.

Is Messi gone? Maradona hopes not.
Is Messi gone? Maradona hopes not.
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Call me crazy, but I think it’s going to be a very pretty day because it’s not supposed to rain! Maybe it won’t be as muggy as the Amazon Rainforest, but let’s be real, that’s asking a lot. Maybe I’ll just ask for the travel gods to make sure all us Metro riders get to work on time and without incident…and now that I’ve jinxed it for everyone, let’s get to the news:

Diego Maradona plea to Lionel Messi: don’t quit Argentina | The Guardian

The entire world is hoping Lionel Messi was kidding when he said he was done playing for Argentina after their loss in penalties to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final. Count Diego Maradona among them. The revered Argentine expressed his wish that Messi stick it out and remain with the national team.

Round 5 U.S. Open Cup | TheCup.us

Round 5 of the U.S. Open Cup continues tonight for those of you who are still following the tournament despite D.C. United’s early exit. Me, I’ll probably just follow on Twitter and hope that the New York Red Bulls lose.

U.S. WNT unveils new Nike home kit for 2016 Olympics | U.S. Soccer

U.S. Soccer introduced the new home kit the USWNT will wear to represent in Rio for the Olympics next month. The United States have a plain look, with the new U.S. Soccer crest replaced by a simple USA due to the IOC’s regulations prohibiting federation crests on Olympic jerseys. Honestly, this look may be boring, but in my mind it’s light years better than the current abomination we call a home kit.

Dani Alves to wear No. 23 at Juventus in tribute to LeBron James | ESPNFC

Dani Alves moved to Juventus and was introduced yesterday, where he stated he would wear #23 in honor of LeBron James. This isn’t the first time he has worn a number in part because of his admiration for King James. Basketball players are finding themselves being idolized more and more by soccer stars and this is the latest example.

Shanghai SIPG agree $61.2m fee to sign Zenit start Hulk | Fox Soccer

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s SIPG side continues the Chinese Super League’s spending spree, signing Brazilian star Hulk for a boatload of money. They probably should have offered British pounds…maybe they wouldn’t have had to pay as much. Still, the Chinese Super League fascinates me and this influx of cash dedicated to bringing top talent to China is going to be interesting to watch this summer.

USMNT player ratings from a successful Copa America Centenario | Pro Soccer Talk

Now that we’ve had a chance to relax and take stock of our performance in the Copa America Centenario, Pro Soccer Talk analyzes how each MNT player did for the United States during the tournament. Spoiler alert: they give D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum a grade of N/A due to his limited minutes.

Barcelona and Real Madrid chase Gabriel Jesus | Marca

The next big Brazilian teenage phenom may be on his way to Spain, but is he headed for Madrid or Barcelona? Both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are attempting to sign Brazilian U20 star Gabriel Jesus, who will likely feature alongside Barcelona forward Neymar at next month’s Olympics.

Will Grigg gets massive reception from fans in Northern Ireland | Sports Illustrated

"Will Grigg’s On Fire" was one of the songs that has dominated the stands at Euro 2016. Now that Northern Ireland is out of the tournament, Will Grigg, who didn’t appear at Euro 2016, got a hero’s welcome anyway from Northern Irish fans.

Video replay in soccer moves closer to becoming reality, but how exactly does it work? | Fox Soccer

Major League Soccer is leading the charge of testing video replay for FIFA in the hopes that it may implemented throughout the world very soon. There’s obviously a lot to analyze as well as many decisions over how it will be used, but video replay can only be a good thing for getting key calls right.

Gerard Piqué admits that Spain’s golden era may have come to an end | The Guardian

With Spain’s loss to Italy yesterday in the 2nd round of Euro 2016, the Spanish defender explains that the golden era that has seen Spain win 2 Euro titles and a World Cup title may be officially over.

It’s 7:30am, it’s Wednesday, and today is going to be wonderful. Let the vibes of A Tribe Called Quest bring you electric relaxation as you kickstart your day. Hit those comments!