Footballers take on NBA stars in BR’s “Battle for the B/R Belt” FIFA Tournament

    While both the football and NBA seasons remain on hiatus, four footballers from across Europe’s major leagues will be competing with four stars of the NBA for the right to be called the first Bleacher Report ‘FIFA Belt’ titleholder. The first quarter final sees Manchester United star Jess Lingard go head-to-head with Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard and avid Arsenal fan Josh Richardson. Whilst the second quarter final pits RB Leipzig and US national team midfielder Tyler Adams against LA Lakers shooting guard and Manchester City fan Alex Caruso.

    Fans can watch both quarter finals on B/R football’s YouTube channel from 5pm BST today.

    Quarter Final 1

    Jesse Lingard

    Which of your teammates at Manchester United are the biggest gamers?

    Lingard: “Most of us, whenever I’m online most of my teammates are online so we’ll jump on and play games together. Particularly now during lockdown, most of us enjoy being on the PlayStation.”

    Who is your favourite NBA team and why?

    Lingard: “I’d have to go Lakers for LeBron James.”

    Do you ever play basketball at home or at the training ground?
    Lingard: “I used to play a lot when I was younger and we do have a court at the training ground so we do shoot a few hoops together.”

    If you had to pick four teammates to make up a basketball team, who would you pick and why?
    Lingard: “I’d have to go with the tall guys in the team so Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and David De Gea for his jumping.”

    Which NBA player do you think would be a great footballer and why?

    Lingard: “I’d go Trae Young as he’s got the right build to be a footballer.”

    Josh Richardson

    As an Arsenal fan, who is your favourite player and why?
    Richardson: “Right now my favourite Arsenal player is Aubameyang. I like his speed, how he finds wholes and he’s also a good goalscorer.”

    Do you have an all-time football player?

    Richardson: “I’d have to say Thierry Henry, but I also like [Cristiano] Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.”

    How did you become a football fan?
    Richardson: “I originally got drafted to Miami and my four years there was my biggest introduction to soccer. The World Cup was on so I went and watched it all over the city. Before that I used to play FIFA a lot during college.”

    Have you ever seen an Arsenal game live at the Emirates?

    Richardson: “I haven’t yet. I really wanted to go during the offseason but we’ll have to wait and see. I’ll try definitely try!”

    Quarter Final 2

    Tyler Adams

    Do you follow the NBA while you’re in Germany?

    Adams: “Yeah, I do follow the NBA. Obviously, it’s hard to catch a lot of the West Coast games because it is so late here, but I do my best to keep up with what is going on over there.”

    Of all the German NBA players, who is your favourite?

    Adams: “I can think of Dirk Nowitzki or Dennis Schroder.”

    What’s your NBA team?

    Adams: “Unfortunately the [New York] Knicks, but my brother is Knicks fan, so I grew up supporting the Knicks.”

    Aside from FIFA, do you play NBA2K?

    Adams: “Yeah, I play a little bit of 2K. I’m not great at that though.”

    Do you play basketball at all?

    Adams: “I played basketball until 9th grade, so I played for a good amount of time. Basketball was honestly my favourite sport growing up and then I just chose soccer when I had to pick one sport and kind of rolled with it.”

    Alex Caruso

    You’re a big Manchester City fan. What is your expectation for the rest of the season and if Champions League comes back, how far do you think they’re going to go?

    Caruso: “Obviously Liverpool is going to win the Premier League, but hopefully we’re going to run the table again in the FA Cup and finish that out. I say ‘we’ because obviously I’m a part of the team… Champions League was honestly one of our best competitions  or at least they played their best. After that Madrid  tie, I was just feeling good coming back home, so me and my friends who are all Manchester City fans were talking into existence, we thought we were going to win the Champions League with the whole allegation and legal activity going on. We’re hoping that we’re going to finish it out, win the Champions League and see where the future goes.”

    Who is your favourite Manchester City player and why?

    Caruso: “If it’s all time, I’d say Vincent Kompany. His resume speaks for itself, but he seems like a great dude. Right now our best player is probably [Kevin] De Bruyne. Hard to go against De Bruyne, but I’m also a big Sterling fan, Bernardo Silva fan, but De Bruyne is just so good… some of the passes he makes are just ridiculous. It’s like for me playing with guys like LeBron [James] or [Rajon] Rondo, who can throw some ridiculous passes. That’s a part of the game that I love and I think that’s why I like De Bruyne so much.”

    How did you become a soccer fan?

    Caruso: “Between my freshman and sophomore year at college, one of my best friends lived with his brother and we’d go out Friday nights, hang out and then wake up early Saturday mornings and watch Premier League games. Then we started playing FIFA and that’s where the love for the game grew. To be honest, FIFA is the real reason I probably started watching soccer more and more.”

    Do you play soccer at all?

    Caruso: “I haven’t in a while, I used to in college. We had our sports rec program at the outdoor fields and we’d go around and mess around, pick up soccer a couple of times, but I never played soccer growing up, that and baseball are the two things that people are always surprised because it’s the two things you play as a kid. I got the mind for it, but I have the skills of a defender, I’m winning all the balls in the box.”

    Related articles

    LaLiga rebrands with new logo

    LaLiga, the top professional football league in Spain, has unveiled a new logo and brand identity. The new logo is a bold and modern design that reflects the passion, excitement, and global reach of...

    Women’s World Cup 2023 lineup complete

    The line-up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is now complete with Haiti, Portugal, and Panama booking their spots at this year’s tournament in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand following success at the...

    adidas launches the L10NEL M35SI Pack which celebrates 35 years of greatness

    On 21 February, adidas unveiled the L10NEL M35SI Pack, celebrating Lionel Messi’s legacy in football. At 35 years old and fresh off having won his first World Cup, El Diez (Number 10) continues to make history,...

    Under-20 World Cup Indonesia Update

    Born as a 16-team tournament in 1977, the biennial FIFA U-20 World Cup brings together some of the most talented youngsters the world of football has to offer, as they compete to be crowned...

    Thank you for 10 million views for Futbolita on TikTok!

    We're delighted to have amassed 10 million views over the last two months on TikTok alone from our coverage of the FIFA World Cup and AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup. Thank you for your support,...

    Latest articles