SALT LAKE CITY - European superclub Real Madrid arrives in Salt Lake City Monday evening for the beginning of its week-long altitude training and two-city U.S. tour, culminating with Saturday's "XanGo Cup, presented by Sam's Club and KSL 5 TV, to face second-year MLS squad Real Salt Lake.
The world's most famous club will embark on a day trip Wednesday to Seattle to face MLS leaders D.C. United that evening at Qwest Field, surrounding media-accessible, "two-a-day" training sessions on the newly-installed temporary grass pitch at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The installation of more than 94,000 square feet of 2.5 year-old sod will be completed Monday morning, followed by the painting of the field for Tuesday's practice sessions.
Other events on the Real Madrid calendar also include a VIP welcome press conference on Tuesday featuring RSL Owner David W. Checketts, a reception hosted by Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman and First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman on Thursday evening, an adidas commercial shoot featuring David Beckham and Raul, and Friday's ticketed training session and invitiation-only team autograph session, both at Rice-Eccles Stadium
Spanish superclub Real Madrid, a nine-time European and 29-time Spanish league champion, celebrated its 100th birthday in 2002, and is the lone club in the world to wear the FIFA-bestowed "Best Club XX Century" honor, recognizing Madrid as the world's most accomplished soccer organization.
While the official U.S. travel roster for Real Madrid will be announced on Monday, the team is expected to bring the brightest of "Los Galacticos" to Utah this week, as the sport's top superstars, including David Beckham (England), Ronaldo (Brazil), Raul (Spain), Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Iker Casillas (Spain), and Robinho (Brazil) call Real Madrid home.
New Head Coach Fabio Capello and recently-elected team President Ramon Calderon completed the transfers of new acquisitions Ruud van Nistelrooy (from Manchester United), Fabio Cannavaro (the Italian World Cup Captain) and Emerson (the Brazilian central midfielder). Cannavaro and Emerson each played for Capello the last two seasons at Juventus, while Capello has enlisted the Brazilian standout to be his "coach on the field" since the 2000 season, when both were at AC Roma.