Sport Soccer

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Manchester rivals to meet in International Champions Cup in USA

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, left, and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, right, are set to clash in pre-season preparation tonight
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, left, and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, right, are set to clash in pre-season preparation tonight

Manchester United will play Manchester City as part of the 2017 International Champions Cup in the United States, while also taking on Real Madrid and Barcelona, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Premier League sides were scheduled to meet in Beijing during last summer's tour to the Far East, but that match was postponed just hours before kick-off because of concerns over the state of the National Stadium pitch following torrential rain.

City will also take on Tottenham as part of the American section of the 2017 ICC, playing at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on July 29.

The venue for what will be the first Manchester derby played overseas has yet to be announced.

However, the game on July 20 was included among the fixtures released by ICC organisers at Tuesday's launch event from New York.

Barcelona and Real Madrid had already been confirmed to meet in El Clasico Miami on July 29 at Hard Rock Stadium.

United will play both of the LaLiga giants during their summer tour of North America, with ICC matches set for July 23 against Real Madrid at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and three days later against Barcelona at FedEx Field in Washington DC.

City, meanwhile, are set to tackle Real Madrid at the Los Angeles Colosseum on July 26.

Tottenham will also meet Paris St Germain in Orlando on July 22 with another game against Italian side Roma in New Jersey three days later ahead of the clash with City.

Spurs travelled to Australia last summer for ICC matches against Juventus and Atletico Madrid in Melbourne.

In total, United have confirmed five matches in the United States, with the tour set to kick-off against Major League Soccer sides the Los Angeles Galaxy, at StubHub Centre on July 15, and Real Salt Lake, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah on July 17.

Playing so many pre-season friendlies crammed into such a short time frame and with the travelling involved may raise eyebrows, given recent complaints about fixture congestion from United boss Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese coach claimed United must have ''lots of enemies'' because of the intensity of the schedule they have now been burdened with as a result of prolonged progress in the EFL Cup and Europa League this season.

Mourinho's predecessor Louis van Gaal was critical of the club's summer schedule in 2014, when they also visited the USA. As a result, United's tour the following summer was shorter.

Speaking of United's summer plans for 2017, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, said: "Tours are vital for the team's preparations for the season ahead and we are facing top-class opposition in world-class stadiums, ensuring it is the ideal environment for the manager and team to prepare.

"Everybody is excited for the tour and it gives us the opportunity to play in front of some of the millions of Manchester United supporters which we have across the USA."

City boss Pep Guardiola believes the ICC will offer ideal preparation for the 2017/2018 campaign.

"The International Champions Cup is a fantastic tournament, and we are delighted to be invited to compete in it once again. We have some great games lined up in some amazing stadiums," the City boss said in a statement on the club's website.

"The Real Madrid game will be an incredible occasion in Los Angeles, and we know all about the strength of our English opponents Tottenham, for the game in Nashville, and it will be amazing for the fans to see the passion of a Manchester derby in the States."

City duo Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus were in New York for the launch event as they both continue their rehabilitation from injury.

German midfielder Gundogan said: "The United game will be a very big one for both teams and I am very excited. It is good preparation for us for the next season."

Tottenham ambassador Ledley King told the launch event he believes the ICC will provide much-needed high-level competition at a crucial stage of pre-season.

The former England defender said: "We are a young exciting team which wants to compete at the highest level and be in the Champions League year in and year out, so these (opposition) teams are fantastic Champions League teams which we want to be competing against. We are really looking forwards to the challenge."

Aside from the first Manchester derby to be held in the United States, Real Madrid will also play Barcelona in the first El Clasico outside of Spain since 1982.

The ICC returns to the United States for the fifth consecutive year, with similar tournaments set to be held in China and Singapore.

The China event will involve Bayern Munich and Arsenal, who will play in Shanghai on July 19, as well as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern will also play at the ICC Singapore 2017, facing Chelsea, who could well be the new Premier League champions, on July 25 and then Inter two days later.

:: International Champions Cup USA 2017

Paris Saint-Germain v Roma (TBC, July 19)

Manchester United v Manchester City (TBC, July 20)

Barcelona v Juventus (MetLife Stadium, New Jersey, Jul 22)

Tottenham v Paris Saint-Germain (Orlando, July 22)

Manchester United v Real Madrid (Santa Clara, California, July 23)

Roma v Tottenham (Red Bull Arena, New Jersey, July 25)

Manchester United v Barcelona (Washington DC, July 26)

Paris Saint-Germain v Juventus (Miami, July 26)

Real Madrid v Manchester City (Los Angeles, July 26)

Manchester City v Tottenham (Nashville, July 29)

Real Madrid v Barcelona (Miami, July 29)

Juventus v Roma (Foxborough, Massachusetts, July 30)

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