Spanish football giant Real Madrid has announced that it will play two games in the United States next month.
Real Madrid holds a record nine European football championship titles. The team's visit will allow U.S. fans the rare opportunity to see in person one of the sport's most storied teams.
Real Madrid Director of Sport Emilio Butragueno says the rising importance of soccer in the United States as a reason for his team's trip. "I think American soccer is doing a great job to introduce soccer to the United States at a time when it is not so easy. And we want to participate in this important project," he said.
Real Madrid has perhaps the most imposing lineup in the world. Three members -- Brazilian Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane of France and Luis Figo of Portugal -- are previous world footballer-of-the-year winners. England national team captain David Beckham joins them in the midfield. Butragueno has given assurances that the team's stars will be on the field for both games. "Yes of course. All of our players will be there, all of our stars," he said.
Real Madrid will first travel to Chicago to play Mexican club Chivas of Guadalajara at Soldier Field on July 16th. Real will then continue west to California where it will play the Los Angeles Galaxy of U.S. Major League Soccer. That game will take place at the Galaxy's 27-thousand-seat home stadium in the L.A. suburb of Carson.