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FC Barcelona will face Juventus, Manchester United, and Real Madrid in the fifth edition of the International Champions Cup (ICC) United States, a competition organized by Relevant Sports. Both the matchups and their respective dates were announced this Tuesday in an event held in New York, where the Club was represented by former player Juliano Belletti, as well as by Francesco Calvo, FC Barcelona’s Chief Revenue Officer.
FC Barcelona will play three games in this summer’s ICC. The first is set for 22 July versus Juventus — which Barça will soon be facing in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Kickoff at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey is set for 6.00pm ET (12.00am CET on 23 July). The second match of the tour comes against Manchester United at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on 26 July at 7.30pm ET (1.30am CET on 27 July). Barça’s third and final game will be against Real Madrid at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on 29 July at 7.30pm ET (1.30am CET on 30 July). The Barça–Madrid game, which was announced on 10 March in Miami, brings a historic rivalry to American shores for the very first time, making it just the second time ever that El Clásico will be played outside of Spain. The first was in Barquisimeto, Venezuela on 30 May 1982.
The ICC, which is being held from 19 to 30 July, has prepared an impressive slate of matchups with the participation of eight of Europe’s top teams. Besides Barça, Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid, the competition includes Paris Saint-Germain, AS Roma, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hostpur.
The International Champions Cup will also host matches in Singapore and China between 25 and 29 July. These games will feature Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
The details of the tournaments were announced on Tuesday at Hudson Yards in New York, at an event attended by Juliano Belletti in his role as FC Barcelona ambassador. Belletti, who was the hero of the 2006 Champions League final in Paris, was accompanied by other ex-players — David Trezeguet (Juventus); Nemandja Vidic (Manchester United); Emilio Butragueño (Real Madrid); Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City); Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur); and Daniel Bravo (PSG) and Sebastián Nela (Roma). FC Barcelona were also represented by Chief Revenue Officer Francesco Calvo.
Barça, a familiar face at the ICC
FC Barcelona took part in the tournament for the first time in the summer of 2015, when they played four matches, the first against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena; then against Manchester United at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara; and finally against Chelsea at FedExField in the Washington, DC suburb of Landover, Maryland. After three games on US soil, Barça returned to Europe to take on Fiorentina in the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence, Italy.
Barça took part in the International Champions Cup last year as well, although all their matches took place in Europe. On 30 July, Celtic were their opponents in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland; then came a game against Leicester City in the Friends Arena in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. The final fixture came against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London.
Seventh time in the USA
This will be the seventh time that FC Barcelona have visited the United States in the preseason. In 2003 Frank Rijkaard’s team played three matches in the US against Juventus, AC Milan and Manchester United. Three years later, Barça faced Chivas Guadalajara, América, and the New York Red Bulls. Then in 2008, the first season under Pep Guardiola, FC Barcelona returned to the States to take on Chivas Guadalajara and the New York Red Bulls. A year on, the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Chivas Guadalajara were the rivals on that tour. Manchester United, Chivas Guadalajara and Club América all faced the blaugranes in 2011. Finally in 2015, Barça faced the LA Galaxy, Manchester United, and Chelsea.
FC Barcelona’s preseason visit to the United States, a country that is of priority interest for the Club, falls within the confines of the the organization’s Strategic Plan for global expansion. In September of last year, FC Barcelona opened their office in New York with a delegation led by President Josep Maria Bartomeu, and none other than Ronaldinho inaugurated the new premises in the city with a well placed penalty kick. Barça also has offices in Hong Kong, another key part of their plan for global expansion.
Juliano Belletti, former FC Barcelona player:
“In the ICC this summer we will see the best teams in the world. It’s a source of pride that FC Barcelona return to American soil to be closer to their US fans and to allow supporters in the country to have the chance to enjoy the best players and the best team in the world. I am sure that the tour in the summer will be the success it has been in previous years.”
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