MIAMI, Florida — The official name may be the El Clásico Miami, but others are calling this Clásico the Summer Super Bowl. The greatest soccer show on earth hits American Shores for the first time ever on Saturday night when FC Barcelona face Real Madrid at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, in their third and final match in the 2017 International Champions Cup. As expected, fan and media attention surrounding this unprecedented match has skyrocketed in the days leading up to it.
Barça and new manager Ernesto Valverde will be going for their third win in a row to start the preseason after they beat the Italian champions Juventus, 2-1, in New York, and the Europa League champions and English Premier League giants Manchester United, 1-0, in Washington DC.
Neymar Jr has been the team's lone goal scorer through the first two matches, and there’s no doubt his strike-force cohorts Leo Messi and Luis Suárez will be looking to notch their first goals of the season against Real Madrid. Especially Messi, who has burned Real Madrid repeatedly over the course of his career, including a dramatic injury time goal at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the teams’ league match back in the spring. Messi’s goal gave FC Barcelona a dramatic 3-2 victory in the closing seconds.
Both games on this summer’s U.S. tour have featured sellout crowds of over 80,000 frenzied fans, and on Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, all 65,000 seats are expected to be filled by those who will have plunked down between $200 and $4,500 per seat, depending on the view.
A victory for Barça on Saturday night would hand the Catalans the title in the 2017 International Champions Cup, an annual friendly tournament that brings together the world’s biggest clubs and which stages matches in the United States, Europe, Asia and, in previous seasons, Oceania.
The Miami Clásico will be the first Clásico of the season. At least four more are already scheduled, including two Spanish Super Cup games in mid-August and league matches in December and in May. Should the eternal rivals cross paths in the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League this season, they could potentially meet four more times, which would bring the total to a staggering nine.
But regardless of how many Clásicos there are this year, one thing is certain—the Miami Clásico already is, and always will be, historic.