WFC: Mourinho, Real Madrid want to make a splash
LOS ANGELES — Real Madrid have landed on American soil once again, and are motivated to make a splash during their time in the United States.
The Spanish giants arrived here on Monday and began their preseason preparations on Tuesday morning ahead of Saturday’s match against the LA Galaxy at the Los Angeles Coliseum (10 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
The match will be Real Madrid’s first tilt in the World Football Challenge, a competition which Real Madrid head coach José Mourinho believes will provide what his club needs to prepare for the rigors to mount a coup in the upcoming La Liga campaign.
“The tournament for us gives us exactly what we need,” Mourinho told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday. “Difficult matches that are against teams that are at a different level than us because they are in the middle of their competition and with good managers, good players and very well organized. I am very happy to have these matches in our preparation.”
Mourinho and the rest of Real Madrid will participate in three matches during their time in the US. Following their match against the Galaxy, Madrid will travel to San Diego to take on popular Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara on July 20. Los Blancos will then head east to Philadelphia to take on the Union on July 23.
For the tournament, Mourinho has brought a cavalcade of Galácticos, including 2010-11 La Liga Golden Boot Cristano Ronaldo, one of the world’s top goalkeepers Iker Casillas, and former World Player of the Year Kaká, to name just a few. The coach known across the world as “The Special One” admits that during Real Madrid’s stay in the United States, his team will be giving their best to make the World Football Challenge an exciting show.
“Globally, I hope [the tournament] is a huge success because some of the best teams in the US and some of the best teams in Europe are involved,” said Mourinho. “Everybody tries to win every single match at every single tournament. My team will not be at the top because we just started training today, but my promise is all my players are going to play.”
The match against the Galaxy marks the second straight year that Real Madrid will begin their preseason preparation in Los Angeles. Los Merengues began their preseason calendar last year at the Rose Bowl with a 3-2 comeback victory against the Galaxy, a match that drew a crowd of more than 90,000.
This trip has become an annual one for Mourinho, who enjoys training his clubs on the campus of UCLA, where his previous clubs Inter Milan and Chelsea have also trained in summers past. As Real look ahead to another summer in the States, Mourinho admits that his club is proud to be back at “home” in the City of Angels.
“LA has become our home in terms of preseason,” said Mourinho. “We feel at home. Real Madrid will be respecting what Real Madrid means around the world and respecting all of our rivals. The World Football Challenge is a great initiative.”
Adam Serrano writes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano