Major League Soccer’s best and brightest will feature in a one-off fixture against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid this summer after the MLS All-Stars were named as pre-season opponents for Los Blancos on Saturday.
The official Major League Soccer Twitter account announced the game for August 2 at Chicago’s Soldier Field, adding to Real’s already stacked pre-season fixture list:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 15, 2017
It’s also been confirmed the MLS All-Stars will be managed by Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic, who spoke of his pride for the city of Chicago following Saturday’s announcement.
Per the official MLS website, he said: “It is an honor to represent Major League Soccer and to work with our league’s great players in a match against one of the top clubs in the word. I know how special it is to compete against Real Madrid and I think our players and fans will also enjoy the experience.”
Major League Soccer could hardly hope for a more prestigious opponent to face their All-Stars, with Real currently leading La Liga and aiming to win a third UEFA Champions League crown in the space of four years.
The MLS All-Stars bring together a selection of the league’s finest players, with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Sebastian Giovinco, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Clint Dempsey all sure to be in contention for places.
Los Merengues might come up against a familiar face in the form of New York City FC striker David Villa. The former Barca, Valencia and Atletico Madrid striker has faced Real 28 times in total, more than any other opponent in his professional career, per Transfermarkt.
The Spanish icon has lost none of his lustre since moving to the United States from his native Spain in 2014, as shown by KICK following his wonder strike against Philadelphia Union on Friday:
David Villa is a BAD man pic.twitter.com/3hpNiZFwYx
— KICK (@KICK) April 15, 2017
Manager Paunovic will also have extra motivation to get the better of Real this summer given he spent a total of eight years on the books of their local rivals, Atletico Madrid, across two separate stints at the Vicente Calderon.
The summer matchup will be a prime opportunity for some of Major League Soccer’s biggest talents to test themselves against a European juggernaut in a transatlantic showdown.