Real Madrid will meet crosstown rival Atlético Madrid in the New York City area as part of this summer’s International Champions Cup preseason tournament.
The game, which will take place on July 26 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., marks the first time that Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid will have played each other outside Europe.
The game between Madrid’s two giants comes two years after the ICC featured an El Clásico friendly in Miami between Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.
“Every year we try to push the envelope and do something different,” said Charlie Stillitano, the executive chairman of Relevent Sports, which puts on the ICC. “There are very few things that we can do after El Clásico that are harder to do than El Clásico was. But this was much harder to do than El Clásico.”
Persuading Real Madrid to accept the game wasn’t easy, Stillitano said, but in the end he was able to pull it off.
Emilio Butragueño, the former Real Madrid star who’s now the club’s director of institutional relations, said: “Without a doubt, it will be an attractive game, now that Atlético Madrid is a great team, and the fans in New York will have the chance to experience what a Madrid derby means.”
The two Madrid clubs are personified as much these days by their coaches as by anyone else. Zinédine Zidane recently returned to reeling Real Madrid after he had left at the end of last season following his third straight UEFA Champions League title with Real. Meanwhile, Atlético’s Diego Simeone has taken his club to new heights in his eight years as its manager, leading Los Colchoneros to one Spanish league title, one Copa del Rey title (beating Real Madrid in the 2013 final), two Europa League crowns and two runner-up finishes in the Champions League (both losses coming to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016).
“The rivalry that we have between both clubs, the idea is to translate it to the United States,” said Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín. “They are two different ways of seeing life and playing soccer, two different models of clubs.”
Stillitano said there will be events planned in the New York City area in the days leading up to the Madrid derby, much as there were in Miami around the ICC El Clásico in 2017.