The American revolution is already in full flow at Leeds, but Weston McKennie will represent their most Hollywood signing yet.
The Juventus midfielder has joined the Premier League side on loan from Italian giants Juventus, in a deal which could end up being A permanent one for £30million.
The Yorkshire outfit are bolstering their ranks in an effort to seal their top flight survival, with forward Georginio Rutter already arriving from Hoffenheim in a club record £36m deal, while defender Max Wober has also joined.
McKennie, though, is far more of a household name, and will boost their United States numbers to four, including manager Jesse Marsch.
The 24-year-old is one of the first names on the team sheet for the national team, starting all four games in their World Cup campaign, but the story hasn’t been quite the same at Juve.
Manager Max Allegri has other preferences in the centre of the park, while Paul Pogba’s comeback appearance on the bench in defeat to Monza frees up a place in the squad.
But maybe he wouldn’t be so free to leave if he hadn’t offended Italian culture…
Appearing on Juve’s turn on Amazon series All or Nothing, the midfielder left club legends Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon stunned by his views on pizza.
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Sitting in the club canteen across from Chiellini, who is fluent in English, the defender asked if McKennie liked pizza, with his reply leaving him in shock.
“Do you know what ranch dressing is?” the American began. “It’s a white sauce, it’s normally for salad, if you put the sauce on the pizza…”
“What are you saying to me?!” replied a shocked Chiellini. “I’m scared about American dressing.”
The legendary defender was even more offended when McKennie said he didn’t like Italian coffee, adding: “If I drink espresso I s*** myself.”
That’s not the only time the former Schalke man has left audiences back home in hysterics though, with a face full of expressions often producing comedy gold.
Once stubbing his toe during an interview McKennie’s painful reaction was absolutely priceless, while he similarly went viral with his terrified reaction when an interviewer began questioning him in Italian.
His reaction to meeting Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time was just as candid.
“I was walking to the physio room to do my medicals then I saw him come out, he was in his underwear,” he said at the time.
“I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is really him.’ I did everything I could to act normal, not be a total fanboy because he was going to be my teammate.”
Much like many talents to come out of US soccer in recent years, McKennie follows the trend of high-pressing, intelligent and technically focused youngsters.
His biggest skill in football has often been his ability to carry the ball forwards before shifting it to the team’s goalscorers, which sounds like another sport that McKennie believes he could have starred in.
When asked what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a ‘soccer’ player, McKennie replied: “Probably playing American football, to be completely honest.
“I played that before I moved to Germany because my dad was in the military. That’s one of the reasons I started playing soccer, because they didn’t have that for my age over there in Germany.
“I’d probably be playing American football, sitting here like 200 pounds and stocky. I think I could have made the NFL if I would have stuck with it.
“I’m one of those guys where whatever I do and try to give my 100 percent to it. So if that was American football, I would have stuck with that and gave everything to that as well.”
Instead, with his focus on ‘soccer’, McKennie has had time to delve into one of his other passions, Harry Potter.
After scoring against Bologna in a 2-0 win back in 2021, McKennie whipped out a wizarding celebration, and revealed why post-match.
“I am actually a big Harry Potter fan,” he told DAZN. “I have a tattoo on my hand, so it was a magic spell.”
That thunderbolt tattoo on his middle finger has clearly inspired him to plenty of magic already at Juventus, and Leeds fans will be hoping lightning strikes twice with his new side.
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