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Top Spanish Football Clubs Visit Washington for International Exhibition Match - 2003-07-30

Spanish football (soccer) power FC Barcelona visits RFK Stadium on Wednesday to face European champion AC Milan of Italy in an international exhibition game. The contest is part of the Champions World Series being played in the United States.

Six top world clubs are taking part in the series of exhibition games being played in seven U.S. cities. In addition to FC Barcelona and AC Milan, Juventus of Italy, England's Manchester United, Celtic of Scotland and Boca Juniors from Argentina are taking part, along with a squad of U.S. players appearing as Club America.

Three games remain after the contest in Washington, and both FC Barcelona and AC Milan will make another appearance before returning to Europe.

FC Barcelona, which uses the motto "More than a club," was founded in 1899 and attracts a global following of 1,500 fan clubs in more than 20 countries. It has more than 100,000 club members, including honorary member Pope John Paul II and opera legend Jose Carreras.

Barcelona has won the European title just once, in 1992, and has not captured the league championship since consecutive crowns in 1998-1999. Last season's poor start and sixth-place finish in Spain's 20 team La Liga, 22 points behind champion Real Madrid, cost two coaches their jobs. Team officials say they hope this three-game U.S. tour will be the start of a renaissance season.

Barcelona played a two-two tie with Italian club Juventus on Sunday in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Barca will face Manchester United on Sunday in Philadelphia. AC Milan will play Juventus the same day in East Rutherford, New Jersey outside New York City.