Real Madrid, Galaxy to play Aug. 2
Real Madrid is coming back to Los Angeles, and the Galaxy will again provide some opposition.
The new Spanish La Liga champion, which has spent preseason training at UCLA the past two years, will arrive in late July and take on the Galaxy in a World Football Challenge match Aug. 2 at Home Depot Center, the Galaxy announced Monday.
Jose Mourinho, who earlier brought his Chelsea and Inter Milan teams to Los Angeles for preseason, guided the Merengues to victories over the Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in 2010 (3-2) and the Coliseum last year (4-1). The clubs also met in 2005 at HDC, with David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane teaming in a 2-0 Real victory.
"It's our annual game against Real Madrid, it seems like," captain Landon Donovan said in video recorded last month and posted Monday on the Galaxy's website. "Obviously, it's a lot of fun. I think it will be a little more special this year to play them here at Home Depot. It's fun to play in front of big crowds and play in new venues, but our fans will get to see them here in an intimate setting, and it will be a lot of fun."
There had been speculation that Mourinho would leave Real Madrid after this season, but he last month announced that he would be returning for a third season. He's guided the Merengues to a 31-2-4 league record and a seven-point lead over Barcelona with one game to play. Real Madrid reached the UEFA Champions League semifinals, falling to Bayern Munich, and are 45-5-7 in all competitions.
Real's "galacticos" include Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 45 league goals and 59 in all, 20-goal scorers Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, playmaker Mesut Özil and fellow German midfielder Sami Khedira, Brazilian stars Kaka and Marcelo, Spanish national teamers Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas, Argentine winger Angel Di Maria, and Portuguese defenders Pepe, Fabio Coentrão and Ricardo Carvalho.
Former Galaxy president of business operations Tom Payne last year expressed concerns to ESPN Los Angeles over Real Madrid's repeated summers in L.A., saying that other big clubs -- such as Barcelona and Manchester United -- wouldn't come to California to play the Galaxy because the Spaniards had made it their territory. Payne was one of three department heads released in a front-office shakeup just before this season began.
The Galaxy will play London's Tottenham in a July 24 friendly at HDC. That match is not part of the World Football Challenge, which is MLS and its marketing partner Soccer United Marketing's summer series of exhibitions involving top foreign clubs.
Scott French covers soccer for ESPNLosAngeles.com.