Friday 24 November 2017

Manchester United and Real Madrid involved in heated row over Beverly Hills arrangements

Romelo Lukaku of Manchester United stretches with teammates during training in the States
Romelo Lukaku of Manchester United stretches with teammates during training in the States
Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

James Ducker

Manchester United and Real Madrid have been involved in a heated row over their summer tour arrangements in Los Angeles. Both clubs picked the city as their pre-season base, which has led to a series of arguments over everything from hotels to training pitches as they battle for supremacy.

Relations between United and Real have even soured to the point that officials at Relevent Sports, organisers of the International Champions Cup (ICC), have been forced to intervene in an effort to placate both parties.

Sources have admitted the situation has been a "nightmare" to deal with and is likely to ensure a tense meeting when the teams face each other in the ICC at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on July 23, in what will be United's fourth game of their tour. They also face each other in the European Super Cup in Macedonia on August 8.

United and Real's uneasy relationship dates back to the Spanish club's courtship of Cristiano Ronaldo. Alex Ferguson famously declared that he would "not sell that mob a virus" when asked about the possibility of Ronaldo joining Real, only later to sell the Portugal forward for a then world-record £80 million in 2009.

More recently, United and Real clashed over the Spanish side's attempt to sign goalkeeper David De Gea in 2015. A move collapsed on transfer deadline day with each club blaming the other for the farce.

Relations took another turn for the worse when the Manchester club unexpectedly called off negotiations to sign Real striker Alvaro Morata after securing a deal to buy Romelu Lukaku from Everton for £90m.

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United appear to be coming out on top in their latest spat. They have landed the more favourable facilities in LA after beating Real to secure the sumptuous Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills as their base. They have also managed to secure use of the bigger training pitches at UCLA, which are closer to the changing rooms, and equipped with an outside swimming pool.

In another significant development for United manager Jose Mourinho, the pitch his squad are using at UCLA's Drake Stadium is more private than the one Real have been forced to use a short distance away.

United arrived in LA at the weekend and play their first tour game against LA Galaxy at the StubHub Centre in the early hours of Sunday. Meanwhile, United defender Luke Shaw is pushing to be fit for the Premier League opener against West Ham on August 13 after suffering ankle-ligament damage in April.

Mourinho has also allowed Adnan Januzaj to join Real Sociedad in an €8.5 million deal that could rise to €11 million (£9.8m). United have a buy-back option on the winger. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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