Real Madrid, winners of the UEFA Champions League and La Liga, join Juventus as the only participating team, including FC Barcelona, Liga MX, Chivas Guadalajura and Club America, to play three matches.
The pre-season Clásico against Barcelona last week in Las Vegas marked Real Madrid’s debut with a 1-0 defeat in the latest installment of that famous Spanish rivalry. The European champions tied 2-2 with America in their next match in San Francisco.
Aging stars Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos remain focal points of the squad.
Among the new arrivals are young French midfielder Aurelien Chuamini and strong German full-back Antonio Rudiger.
“They are the best that can be found on the market in their positions,” said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
However, the off-season at Real Madrid was defined more by who didn’t arrive more than who did after France world class striker Kylian Mbappe turned down a lucrative offer and opted to stay with PSG.
The Spanish giant, arguably the most famous team in football, completed one last training session in the United States on Friday at the University of California, where Wales striker Gareth Bale and his former teammates visited after eight years with Los Blancos after leaving as a free agent to join Los Blancos. Angeles Football Club.
The Champions League winners will resume their competitive matches when they meet Europa League titles Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Super Cup on August 10 in Helsinki, Finland, four days before the opening match of La Liga.
“This tour, those matches that we’re going to have, is very important to prepare well,” Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said of the event, which was promoted by AEG in Las Vegas, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“It’s going to be a very long year and I personally want to help the team like last year,” Courtois added. “And when they need me, they can count on me and hope to keep winning titles.”
Meanwhile, Juventus, the club with the most Serie A titles, is emerging from a slump season that ended with a fourth place in Serie A behind Napoli, Inter Milan and Scudetto winner AC Milan.
The Italians defeated Chivas, 2-0, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to play the opening game of the soccer championship, and followed that up with a 2-2 draw with Barcelona on Tuesday at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas.
“These are very important tests when you play against Barcelona and Real Madrid,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said before the start of the tour. “Of course, these are teams that have a high technical level.”
Incorporating new players, building conditioning and staying healthy, not results, are the metrics by which pre-season opponents are measured.
“The most difficult thing is that 25 different people, 25 different manufacturers, have to be one group in order to achieve our goals,” said Giorgio Chiellini, who represented Juventus before joining LAFC in July. “Preparing for the season is more important for this reason.”
Like Bale, Chiellini reconnected with his former teammates while Juventus trained at the Loyola Marymount campus.
“It’s strange because one day we stayed in Los Angeles for 20 years with Juventus,” Chiellini said. “Now they come for two weeks. They decided much earlier (I signed with LAFC), but that’s fate.”
Chiellini’s departure, along with the transfer of Dutch central defender Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich, required Juventus to create a new duo at the heart of the defence. Leonardo Bonucci, with whom Chiellini is among the best defenders in illustrious Italian football history, started against Barcelona along with recently joined Brazilian Gleason Bremer.
While building their roster for next season, Juventus also replaced a dynamic Argentine striker, Paulo Dybala, with another, Angel Di Maria. The club also brought back free French midfielder Paul Pogba after six years at Manchester United. Pogba missed the game in Dallas with pain in his right knee, and tests revealed a meniscus injury likely to keep him out of the club’s first-division opener on August 15.
“We can say that, with all these players, Juventus will be more competitive,” said Allegri. “It is not easy to win, as usual, but with that we have to do our best to win the Italian championship and also do our best in the Champions League.”
Real Madrid VS. Juventus
what or what: Football Champions Tour
When: Saturday, 7 p.m. PT
where: flower pot
Television: FS2, FOX Deportes