FedEx Field to Host Barcelona-Manchester United in July
An agreement has been reached in principle that will bring two of the world's most popular and successful soccer clubs to the Washington area this summer, according to sources.
Spanish league champion FC Barcelona announced on its website Thursday that it will face English power Manchester United in Washington D.C. on July 30, 2011. Sources confirmed that while a deal is not yet official, an agreement has been reached in which FedEx Field would host the friendly - one of three in Barcelona's summer tour of the United States.
Barcelona, which toured the U.S. in 2008 and 2009, will also play A.C. Milan (Italy) in Miami on Aug. 3 and Club America (Mexico) in Dallas on Aug. 6, according to its website.
Washington Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said the team could not comment on whether a deal has been reached but that "we are always looking to have premier sporting events at FedEx Field."
The D.C. metropolitan area has played host to several matches featuring some of the world's top clubs in recent years.
Barcelona faced Italian power A.C. Milan in a friendly at RFK Stadium in 2003, a match that debuted Brazilian star Ronaldinho with the Spanish club, and D.C. United has hosted several European clubs in its history - including Real Madrid, Chelsea, Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur. United most recently upset A.C. Milan, 3-2, in a friendly at RFK Stadium on May 26.
United's 3-0 friendly loss to Madrid at FedEx Field on Aug. 9, 2009 drew a crowd of 72,368.
Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium has also played host to friendly matches in recent years, including one this summer featuring Italian club Inter Milan and English side Manchester City.
Barcelona and Manchester United are among the most prestigious clubs in the sport and have enjoyed extraordinary success in their histories, both domestically and internationally.
Barcelona won its second straight Spanish La Liga title last season, the 20th in club history, and captured European championships in 1992, 2006 and 2009.
With a star-studded roster that includes some of the world's top players - including Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, all of whom were nominated for the 2010 Ballon d'Or as the top player in the world - Barcelona currently sits atop the Spanish Primera Division, two points ahead of rival Real Madrid.
Valued at $1.84 billion, Manchester United is the world's richest, and largely considered to be the world's most popular, club. It is also one of the most successful, capturing English Premier League/Football League Division One titles 18 times in its history, including three straight from 2007-09. United has also claimed a record 11 FA Cup titles and won European championships in 1968, 1999 and 2008.
Featuring England striker Wayne Rooney, Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, Portuguese winger Nani and 22-year-old Mexican star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, United also currently sits atop its domestic table, two points ahead of Arsenal.
Several players, including Hernandez and Argentina's Messi, will have just completed national team duty at the Copa America tournament a week prior to the friendly and might require rest before the start of the league season in August.
Paul Tenorio and Steve Goff
| December 23, 2010; 1:24 PM ET
Categories: Argentina, Barcelona, England, Mexico, Real Madrid, Spain, World
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