The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Football: The Best summer attractions

Malta Independent Friday, 27 July 2007, 00:00 Last update: about 12 years ago

SILVIO VELLA

As part of their pre-season preparations, most of the big European clubs are touring the continents, holding training camps and playing friendly matches to get in shape for another arduous campaign, besides getting some much needed publicity all around the globe.

The US has become quite an attraction for European clubs, especially British sides, who set to visit this summer. Chelsea have lined up three games in California, against America of Mexico, South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings and Los Angeles Galaxy.

Only last week, Celtic have played the MLS All-Stars team in Denver and Chicago Fire. Everton played Real Salt Lake while Aston Villa were scheduled to play Columbus Crew and are presently in Canada where yesterday they played Toronto FC.

Tottenham Hotspurs have toured South Africa, playing pre-season friendlies against Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

In order to promote the game further, many top European clubs opt for Asian pre-season tours during the summer. This year was no exception, with popular clubs from Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and Argentina taking part in several tournaments in various Asian countries.

Bolton, Reading, Udinese, Lyon and River Plate have all played in the Peace Cup in South Korea this month.

Liverpool, Portsmouth and Fulham are currently playing for the Barclays Asia Trophy in a tournament, together with local side South China, in Hong Kong.

Earlier, Germany’s Bayern Munich were invited to play against the Chinese National team for the Handover Cup, one of the events to mark the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignity.

English champions Manchester United visited Japan last week, playing friendlies against domestic double winners Urawa Red Diamonds in Saltama. They have now travelled to China, to play some friendly matches against Shenzhen in Macau as they face Guangzhou Pharmaceutical today.

Liverpool will also be in China next week to play Shanghai Shenlua.

Spanish giants Barcelona start their Far East tour on 5 August against Beijing Guoan. Two days later they will play Yokahama Marinos in Japan and they will complete their tour with a game in Hong Kong against a Hong Kong XI on 10 August.

The majority of German teams chose Austria and Switzerland for their pre-season training. Champions VfB Stuttgart, Schalke 04, Hertha Berlin and Hamburg have all held training camps over the Austrian border. Three other German sides – Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverskusen - held training camps in Switzerland, along with French club Lens.

Celtic also played friendly matches in Switzerland against Young Boys and Basle.

Meanwhile Arsenal again held their training camp in Austria where they arranged friendlies with Turkish club Genclerbirligi and Austrian champions Salzburg.

The Gunners will host Italian champions Inter, Paris Saint-Germain and Hamburg for the Emirates Cup this weekend. Inter then have games against Manchester United and Aston Villa, while Roma are due to play West Ham on 4 August, the same day that Juventus play Sunderland to celebrate the Stadium of Light’s 10th anniversary.

One other very popular tournament during the summer is the LG Amsterdam Tournament in Holland, this year being held between 2 and 4 August. Ajax will be joined by Arsenal, Lazio and Atletico Madrid.

This year, three foreign teams are set to play in another European tournament at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, venue for the 2008 Champions League final, in early August. Real Madrid, Milan, PSV Eindhoven and Lokomotive Moscow are the entrants. The European champions were also reported to be negotiating a friendly in Moscow with Dynamo Kiev before the start of the Italian championship.

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