LANDOVER – Soccer giants F.C. Barcelona and Manchester United will be returning to Prince George’s County to play a friendly preseason match at FedExField this summer as part of the International Champions Cup. Tournament organizers announced in a press conference on March 21 that the matchup will take place on July 26 at 7:30 p.m. […]
LANDOVER – Soccer giants F.C. Barcelona and Manchester United will be returning to Prince George’s County to play a friendly preseason match at FedExField this summer as part of the International Champions Cup.
Tournament organizers announced in a press conference on March 21 that the matchup will take place on July 26 at 7:30 p.m. FedExField officials confirmed in a press release that tickets will be available in a presale event starting on March 28 at 10 a.m. Tickets for the general public will go on sale beginning April 4.
“People say these are just friendlies, but they are not just friendlies,” Tournament co-founder and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said. “These teams want to win. They don’t want to lose to each other and they have their own pride, and it is really exciting to see these matchups.”
The friendly matchup will be a rematch of the teams’ meeting at the Landover stadium on July 30, 2011, where a record crowd of 81,807 saw Manchester United defeat Barcelona 2-1. This would be Barcelona’s second visit to Maryland in three years, where they lost to English club Chelsea in penalties kicks in front of 78,914 in 2015.
“To be back in the United States for the third time and to bring the club back to this country that receives us well every time is great,” Juliano Belletti, former Barcelona player and current club ambassador, said in Spanish. “We play with joy and we are going to bring joy to the U.S.”
Reports surfaced in mid-February from multiple media outlets that both sides were engaged in talks to play in Landover. It was then reported on Feb. 24 that local Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, attempted to schedule a friendly with the Spanish giants at R.F.K Stadium, but scheduling conflicts ended talks.
Several European soccer clubs conduct preseason tours in countries like the United States in order to financially maximize their popularity around the world. With no major international games scheduled for this summer, tournament organizers and team officials stressed that all clubs participating in the tournament will bring all their big stars.
However, scheduling issues may limit player appearances during the friendly. Manchester will be playing its third game in six days while Barcelona may rest players ahead of playing their rivals, Real Madrid, in Miami on July 29. The Miami game, dubbed El Clasico Miami, has already sold more than 46,000 tickets with prices ranging $200-$3,200 each, according to Ticketmaster.
Barcelona, currently in second place of La Liga, sport a talent-riddled roster, featuring Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, Brazilian Neymar and Uruguayan Luis Suárez. Manchester United, one of the most recognizable soccer clubs in the world from the English Premier League, features English star Wayne Rooney and striker Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Tournament organizers were not available for comment on ticket and parking prices.