City big news in America’s National Football League
- 15 December 2011 11:28
- Posted by Chris Bailey/Chris Nield
The Blues’ goal-hungry Italian forward Mario Balotelli has scored top marks with New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, and world champion quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been pictured wearing a City home shirt in an interview this week.
The six-time pro-bowler Ochocinco recently changed his name from Chad Johnson so that his surname could match his long time shirt number – 85!
He is a social media phenomenon in the States where his often colourful pronouncements on sport and life have garnered in excess of three million followers on Twitter.
Former Cincinnati Bengal Ochocinco has previously shown an intense interest in football as we know it. He has spent time previously with European and South American football stars including Lionel Messi.
He got absorbed in Mario’s career and progress during the Blues summer tour to the west coast of America where the Premier League side were based in Santa Monica.
Now the Miami born NFL superstar, named last year as the ‘most influential sportsman in social media’, has asked for a signed Mario shirt as a keepsake.
Rodgers, whose unbeaten team are red-hot favourites for Superbowl glory this season explained:“I've expanded my horizons to other teams, but I keep my support in the Premier League. I enjoy watching the games on the Soccer Channel here and I'm not going to jump on the Barcelona bandwagon."
It is not the first time the Blues have shared time and common bonds with the NFL’s big names. On a previous tour to the States, the squad visited the Baltimore Ravens training ground and got to hang out with box-office stars Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Ironically the Ravens and the Ochocinco’s former team the Bengals are bitter divisional rivals.