David Beckham and Ronaldo playing soccer in
Home Depot Center? Don't laugh, because it's going to happen.
It became official Thursday when representatives of Real Madrid, one of
the world's most prestigious soccer clubs, announced the team will come
stateside for a brief tour next month that will include games in Chicago
Real Madrid will take on Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas) at
Chicago's Soldier Field on Saturday, July 16, then fly to Los Angeles to
play the Galaxy at Home Depot Center on either Monday, July 18, or
Tuesday, July 19. Real Madrid vice president and director of sport
Emilio Butragueno said "all of our players will be there.' That means
fans will get a first-hand look at some of the sport's biggest names and
highest-paid players, including Beckham, Ronaldo, Michael Owen, Zinedine
Zidane and Luis Figo.
Galaxy president and general manager Doug Hamilton said the date should
be finalized today, and tickets will be available through Ticketmaster
starting Thursday at 10 a.m.
The Galaxy-Real Madrid game is one of several top international matches
being staged in this country next month. Others include Italian Series "A'
champion AC Milan facing English Premier League titlist Chelsea on July
24 in Foxboro, Mass, followed three days later by AC Milan and the
Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. Chelsea will take on four-time MLS Cup
winner D.C. United on July 28 in Washington, D.C., and then play a
return match against AC Milan on July 31 at Giants Stadium in East
There also is the All-Star Game on July 30 in Columbus, Ohio, where the
MLS All-Stars will play Fulham of the English Premier League.
"I think it's a statement of how far this country has come with the
sport at the highest level,' MLS commissioner Don Garber said Thursday.
Butragueno said fans can expect the best from his team, nine-team
European Cup winners and owners of a record 29 Spanish league titles.
"We are sure American fans are going to enjoy these two games,'
Butragueno said Thursday. "It is our idea and our goal to provide them
great matches and great entertainment.'
Next month's game at Home Depot Center will not be the first time the
Galaxy and Real Madrid have met on the field. The clubs held a closed
scrimmage during the Galaxy's preseason trip to Spain, and it ended in a
1-1 tie. Hamilton said his team is eager for the challenge.
"You don't pass up the opportunity to play Real Madrid,' Hamilton said.
"I'm confident the Galaxy will do well.'
Ivan Gazidis, Soccer United Marketing International president, the
marketing arm for MLS, said next month's games will be special.
"These aren't run-of-the-mill exhibition games,' he said. "They're going
to be competitive games for us. And, with a little pride, we want to