Real Madrid will take on Inter Milan in California in the third match of the 2014 International Champions Cup. The preseason tournament will showcase some of the best talent from the 10-time European Cup winners against an Inter team in full rebuild mode.
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has already added to his star-studded team this summer. Los Blancos have completed deals for two standouts from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos and Colombia attacker James Rodriguez have joined a squad desperate to capture this season's La Liga title from city neighbours Atletico.
By contrast, Inter's summer recruitment has taken in golden oldies like 32-year-old ex-Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic. The Serie A side has also made room for temperamental French midfield destroyer Yann M'Vila.
But despite the star names and rich history of both clubs, it's likely to be younger, squad players strutting their stuff under the California sun. Before taking a more in-depth look at the teams, here's the full kick-off time and TV information:
|Saturday, July 26||3 p.m. PT/ 11 p.m. BST||California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California||ESPN Desportes, Fox Sports 2 / Sky Sports 1||Fox Sports Go / Sky Go, Now TV|
InternationalChampionsCup.com and Football World.com
Though it's only preseason, that hasn't stopped this tournament from attracting some of the biggest teams from the European game. Real Madrid.com has detailed who will appear in this year's International Champions Cup and how the competition will work:
Following the success of its inaugural edition, the International Champions Cup will once again bring eight European heavyweights, spread over two groups, together. Real Madrid, along with Inter, Roma and Manchester United, make up Group A, whilst Group B sees Liverpool, Manchester City, Olympiacos and AC Milan face off. The winners of each group will play the final.
Of course, the presence of these teams doesn't guarantee appearances from many of their star players, particularly for exhibition games. Each of these clubs is naturally concerned with protecting star assets ahead of the start of the European season.
That is reflected by who is likely to appear and who will miss out for Los Blancos. Jake Montero of SFBay.ca noted how fans shouldn't expect to see some of Real's biggest names:
That also includes two World Cup finalists as Argentina’s Angel Di Maria is currently nursing a muscle injury, and recently acquired German star Toni Kroos is still in the process of making his way over from Bayern Munich. French striker Karim Benzema was also left off the initial roster.
Montero also noted how Rodriguez will miss out against Inter. However, Madrid have still made room for players such as pacy forward Gareth Bale, veteran midfield general Xabi Alonso and attacking midfielder Isco.
Despite initial doubts, one man who will be involved during the tournament is Cristiano Ronaldo. He will join his teammates for the tour, per InternationalChampionsCup.com. That's a major boosts for the tournament's hopes of attracting massive crowds.
While Madrid have taken a relatively small group, Inter have travelled with a 26-man squad, per Alex Muller of WorldSoccerTalk.com. The group includes Vidic, M'Vila and star midfield schemer Mateo Kovacic.
No matter the importance of the game, Inter players should be keen to upset former AC Milan chief Ancelotti.
Elsewhere at the tournament, Manchester United's new era under Louis van Gaal will continue. It began with a 7-0 thumping of MLS side LA Galaxy. All eyes will be on Van Gaal's ongoing experiment with the 3-5-2 formation.
The Dutch strategist is keen to retain that tactical structure after the Red Devils produced some fluid and efficient attacking football in his first game at the helm, per Sky Sports writer Adam Bate.
Meanwhile, United's local rivals, Manchester City, will be keen to show they are fully equipped to retain the Premier League crown they won last season.
Expect one of the Premier League's representatives to meet Madrid in the competition's final.