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Lion Links: 1/5/16

Kaká thinks winning the Ballon d'Or is tough, LAFC tries to give us something, MLS announces combine invitees, Morris turns pro, and Benitez gets a pink slip all in today's Lion Links.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

So January is already here and this means that we are getting ever closer to Opening Day, but before then we have to get through training camps, unveilings, preseason, combines and drafts. That means you have a lot to keep up with--but don't worry, we have you covered. Let's check out today's Lion Links.

Kaká Muses on the Ballon d'Or

In an interview with, Kaká confesses that "it's no easy task to forge a Ballon d'Or winner." That's a pretty strong statement coming from the 2007 winner, and the last player not named Messi or Ronaldo to win. Kaká is encouraged, though, by the fact that fellow Brazilian Neymar is a finalist for this year's award.

Los Angeles Football Club to Unveil Crest and Colors

As we rapidly approach the start of preseason, and ultimately our first MLS game of the season, we also have to be mindful of new teams joining in future seasons. As such, it was announced yesterday that--despite likely not starting play until 2018--Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), is getting ready to unveil its crest and club colors on Jan 7. Make sure you follow @themaneland on Twitter to get our reaction once they have been unveiled.

MLS Player Combine Announced

The 2016 MLS SuperDraft is only a little over a week away, and yesterday saw an announcement regarding invitees to this weekend's MLS combine. The combine is an important part of the draft process as it allows teams to get eyes on upcoming talent, as well as an opportunity to scout out the players' feelings about MLS and the likelihood of them signing. The combine also sees the announcement of the Generation Adidas contracts for players who have already signed with MLS, and highlights some potential stars for upcoming seasons.

Jordan Morris to Turn Pro

Yesterday, USMNT forward Jordan Morris finally confirmed that he was going to turn professional. The outstanding Homegrown Seattle Sounders academy product enjoyed a good 2015, and has decided that now is the time to turn pro, and his decision makes sense. With Russia 2018 only two years away, Morris needed to make the jump sooner rather than later to secure his position in the World Cup Qualifying squad, and potentially the tournament roster itself should the U.S. qualify.

Real Madrid Fires Rafa

In a move that seemed a long time in coming, Real Madrid parted ways with head coach Rafael Benítez. After weeks of reports of dressing room unrest, league losses and an administrative blunder that kicked them out of the Copa Del Rey, it was time to say 'adiós' to Rafa and 'hola' to long-time Real Madrid head-coach-in-waiting, Zinedine Zidane (Here is how that may have gone). The Zidane's appointment comes with David Beckham's approval (phew!) but, as with all good Madrid managerial appointments, there is already speculation as to who will have the job next.

Well that's it for today, but make sure to check back tomorrow to find out more about your favorite thing: soccer.