Melbourne - European champions Real Madrid will headline a pre-season
international tournament at Australia's 100 000-capacity Melbourne
Cricket Ground next year, organisers said on Monday.
The glamorous Spanish outfit, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth
Bale and James Rodriguez among others, will play in the International
Champions Cup along with an English Premier League team and Italian
Serie A side.
Organisers said the other teams, reported to be Manchester City and
Inter Milan, would be revealed in the next few weeks. The tournament
will take place from July 18-24.
With the securing of Real Madrid's huge box-office appeal, organisers
are hoping to build on the local appetite for top European clubs after a
95 000 crowd watched English Premier League Liverpool's 2-0 win over
Australia's Melbourne Victory at the MCG last year.
"We are aware of the large number of Real Madrid fans in Australia
and it will be a pleasure to be close to them and give them the best
that the club has to offer," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said in a
The round-robin tournament in Australia is an offshoot of the main
International Champions Cup which is staged in North America and next
year will feature eight teams.
Ten-time European champions Real Madrid were named FIFA's Club of the
20th Century and are worth an estimated $618
Ronaldo is the current holder of the FIFA Ballon d'Or handed out
annually to the world's best player, while Colombia's Rodriguez was
voted the best player at this year's World Cup in Brazil.