Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea will headline the 2015 International Champions Cup in the United States in July, organisers announced yesterday.
The pre-season tournament, which has attracted huge attendances across the States, will feature 10 clubs in its third year, including three from North America’s Major League Soccer.
Barcelona, 22-times Spanish and four-time European champions, will feature in the competition for the first time.
United won last season’s tournament, while Premier League leaders Chelsea return after playing in the first edition in 2013.
The other European teams in this year’s competition are French champions Paris St Germain, 27-times Portuguese champions FC Porto and Italian Serie A club Fiorentina.
Mexican champions Club America, who have a large fan base in the US, will be the first Liga MX team to feature.
While venues are yet to be announced, the three MLS clubs New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes, are likely to play at home.
Many of the teams will set up a pre-season base in the US and travel to their games with the tournament extended to allow sides more training time than on previous tours.
“This will be provide a more relaxed atmosphere that the managers will be able to get a lot out of,” Charlie Stillitano, CEO of tournament organiser Relevent Sports, told Reuters.
“It was really Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho who went away from the concept of ‘touring the States’ and towards doing their full pre-season in the US
“If the managers are happy that they are getting their work done then that is going to make everyone’s life easier.
“The sponsors will be happy, the players will be happy. It just changes everything. We are proud that we put the manager’s needs first.”
Stillitano said clubs were increasingly bringing over their commercial and marketing staff and several events were likely to allow the clubs to engage with their American fans.
Relevent Sports will also be taking a similar concept to Australia in July with a Real Madrid, AS Roma and Manchester City already confirmed as participants. (Thisday Live news)
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