Mid-Day Ticker: SKC hosts Montpellier, El Diablo signs with Pachuca and more

Mid-Day Ticker: SKC hosts Montpellier, El Diablo signs with Pachuca and more

MLS- Sporting Kansas City

Mid-Day Ticker: SKC hosts Montpellier, El Diablo signs with Pachuca and more

Montpellier (Reuters Pictures)

Sporting Kansas City will be welcoming the Ligue 1 champions to Livestrong Sporting Park this summer.

Sporting KC announced they will be hosting French side Montpellier in a friendly on July 24, the first of two matches Montpellier will play in the United States this summer. The other is against Lyon for the Trophee Des Champions at Red Bull Arena on July 28. The friendly is the first of two that Sporting KC has signed on for this summer, as it hosts Stoke City on Aug. 1 as well.

Montpellier boasts Arsenal target and French national team striker Olivier Giroud and rising 22-year-old Moroccan star Younes Belhanda and is coming off a season in which it fended off big-spending Paris-St. Germain to win the Ligue 1 title and cement a place in the UEFA Champions League.

Here are a few more stories to keep your Friday going:

CASTILLO SIGNS WITH PACHUCA

Jose Torres' newest club teammate is Nery Castillo.

The former Chicago Fire Designated Player will finally play for a Mexican club after a career spent abroad, agreeing to a three-year deal with Pachuca.

El Diablo has fallen out of the Mexican national team picture, and at 28 he scored seven goals for Aris in Greece in all competitions this past season. He flopped as a DP for the Fire in 2010, failing to score in eight games before returning to Greece, where he spent the first seven seasons of his career before a move to Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk. 

BALOTELLI LIKELY REDUCED TO RESERVE

It appears that Mario Balotelli has lost his place in Italy's starting lineup.

The unpredictable striker is unlikely to start in Italy's Euro 2012 Group C finale against Ireland, according to comments made by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Balotelli has not scored in either of Italy's matches thus far, and he has been replaced by Antonio Di Natale in the second half of both games. Balotelli's most notable moment of the tournament so far came against Spain, when he appeared to be in on goal alone but hesitated and allowed Sergio Ramos to recover and make the tackle instead of having a go at goal.

Di Natale scored just minutes after coming on against Spain, and it appears that he'll get the starting nod against Ireland in a game that Italy needs to win to have any chance at advancing to the knockout stage.

GATTUSO SIGNS WITH SION

Gennarro Gattuso won't be returning to Rangers, and he definitely won't be coming to MLS.

The former AC Milan midfielder and Italian international has signed with Swiss side FC Sion on a two-year deal. At 34, Gattuso was released from Milan after 13 seasons, and he had been heavily linked to a return to Rangers, where he spent two seasons early in his career.

Uncertainty surrounding the future of the Scottish club played into his decision to find another place to play, though, and he joins Sion, a team that narrowly avoided relegation in the Swiss Super League this past season.

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Looking forward to the Sporting KC-Montpellier clash? How do you see Castillo faring in Mexico? Do you think Di Natale deserves the start over Balotelli? Think Gattuso still has some quality left in his game?

Share your thoughts below.

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