MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Arguably the world’s greatest club soccer rivalry is headed to American soil for one night only. After months of reports and speculation, Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid will indeed bring El Clasico to Miami during the 2017 edition of the International Champions League. The game will be played on Saturday, July 29 at Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins.
The formal announcement was made during a press conference on Friday that featured legends from both sides such as Hristo Stocihkov and Roberto Carlos. The location makes perfect sense for a match like this. After all, Miami is a Latin American hub, and Stephen Ross, owner of the Dolphins is also the owner of the International Champions Cup. If the game were to be played outside of Spanish soil, there’s no way Ross would let the two teams meet anywhere other than his stadium.
“When Real Madrid and Barcelona play, the entire world stops,” legendary Real Madrid left back Roberto Carlos said. “I had the opportunity of playing in huge classic rivalry games in Brazil, Italy and Turkey, but it’s obvious that Madrid-Barcelona is quite different based on the histories of both clubs.”
The game will likely feature Barcelona’s M-S-N trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar and Real Madrid’s B-B-C trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo all on the same field. While Zinedine Zidane will likely be at the Real Madrid helm, Barcelona will probably have a new manager in charge for that match. Luis Enrique announced earlier in the month that he’d be stepping down after his contract expires in June. After Wednesday’s emphatic Champions League comeback against PSG in the round of 16, Enrique still has a shot of leaving Barcelona on top with a treble -- a feat he accomplished his first year at the helm.
It’s reported that Barcelona will also play Juventus on July 22 and Manchester United on July 25, though the site for those games have yet to be announced. Meanwhile, Real Madrid is the reported favorite to play in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game in Chicago on Aug. 2, just days after the Miami Clasico.
This is the first time the two teams will play a game against each other on North American soil, and the second time El Clasico has been played outside of Spain. The only previous time the two sides have clashed during the 1982 Venezuela Cup. Real Madrid won that meeting 1-0, thanks to a Vicente Del Bosque goal. That’s the same Del Bosque that managed Spain to World Cup glory in 2010.