Spain's Gerard Pique is one of the world's best and most versatile defenders, known for his smooth passing out of the back and perfectly-timed tackles. Meanwhile, Italy's Mario Balotelli is all power. Fast, nimble, and an excellent striker of the ball, the son of Ghanaian immigrants has become one of the breakout stars of the Euro 2012 finals.
The two will surely clash multiple times today, but both will have big voices from the music world on their side.
The tall, bearded defender and the Colombian pop star met while filming the video for Shakira's 2010 World Cup anthem "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)." Since then, not much has gone wrong for the couple. Shakira's "Waka Waka" hit No.1 in 18 countries and achieved platinum status in 10 of them (including six times over in Spain). Meanwhile, Pique won his country's first-ever World Cup.
Oasis guitarist and songwriter Noel Gallagher grew up in Manchester as a fervid fan of Manchester City F.C. Until recently, the club played second fiddle to their domineering neighbors Manchester United. The relationship between the two clubs in the last several years was relatively simple: United won all the trophies (and attracted all the money), City flirted with relegation, and both sides genuinely hated the other.
After a purchase and cash injection by United Arab Emirates politician Sheikh Mansour in 2009, Manchester City began its rise. The club won the English League title for the first time since 1968 - when Noel Gallagher was just a year old. Understandably, this made Gallagher (and about half of his hometown) very, very happy.
The Italian ace Balotelli was a huge part of Manchester City's resurgence, and in the process has also become Gallagher's favorite player. When the BBC offered the Oasis founder the opportunity to interview Balotelli, Gallagher jumped at the opportunity.
Spain vs. Italy. Pique vs. Balotelli. Shakira vs. Noel Gallagher. Which side are you on?