Real Madrid and A.C. Milan to hold public practice sessions at Soldier Field

CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire has announced that Spanish superclub Real Madrid and 2005 UEFA Champions League runners-up A.C. Milan will conduct public training sessions at Soldier Field prior to their exhibition matches at the lakefront venue this month. Real Madrid will host their practice session at Soldier Field on Friday, July 15 from 6:30-7:45 p.m. CT, with general admission tickets to the session costing $20. Milan has announced that it will hold a practice and a meet-and-greet session with fans on Tuesday, July 26 from 6:00-7:15 p.m. CT, with tickets to that event costing $15.

Tickets for both events will go on sale on Friday, July 8 at 10:00 a.m. by visiting Tickets will also be available for purchase the days of the events at the Fire's Soldier Field Box Office. Fire season ticket holders can purchase tickets to each session for a discounted price of $10 and will also be able to buy additional tickets to the practices at the same cost.

The Spanish club giants will be training in advance of their match-up against Mexico's Club Deportivo Guadalajara ("Chivas") on Saturday, July 16, which will be the second game of a doubleheader at Soldier Field that will open with the Fire taking on the Columbus Crew in an MLS Eastern Conference showdown at 3:00 p.m. CT (ESPN2). The Fire will release details on CD Guadalajara's training plans in Chicago when they become available. Milan will come to the Windy City to take on the Fire on Wednesday, July 27 as part of the 2005 World Series of Football, with kick-off at Soldier Field set for 8:00 p.m. CT.

The Fire has also introduced special ticket packages that will allow fans the chance to see Real Madrid and A.C. Milan during this month's "Summer Soccer Celebration" in addition to the "Men in Red" as they wind down their 2005 home schedule during their last season at Soldier Field. For $90, fans will receive one ticket to three events - Real Madrid's July 15 practice session at Soldier Field, a Level 3 ticket for the next day's MLS-International doubleheader at the lakefront venue and a free ticket for one of the Fire's two remaining Wednesday night home contests - the team's Aug. 10 contest against the Kansas City Wizards or the Fire's second to last home match of the regular season on Oct. 5 against the MetroStars, both of which kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Fire is also offering a similar $60 package that will substitute the Fire-Milan World Series of Football contest on July 27 for the Fire-Crew/Real-Chivas doubleheader.

Fans can purchase these special packages, in addition to individual and group tickets for the July 16 doubleheader and July 27 friendly versus A.C. Milan, through the Fire office by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, or visiting the Tickets secion of the Fire's official website, or in person at the Fire office, located at 980 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1998, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. CT. Fans can also purchase tickets during the Fire's first-place showdown against the New England Revolution this Saturday, July 9 (7:30 p.m. CT) at the Fire's Soldier Field Box Office.

Real Madrid, winner of a record 29 Spanish league titles, is widely recognized as the world's most storied and star-studded soccer club. The Spanish giants are making their first trip to the United States since August 2002 and their first appearance in the Windy City. Led by Brazilian head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Real Madrid features several of the world's soccer superstars popularly known as the "galacticos": David Beckham (England), Ronaldo (Brazil), Zinedine Zidane (France), Luis Figo (Portugal), Michael Owen (England), Roberto Carlos (Brazil) and captain Raul (Spain). Following the games in the United States, Real Madrid will continue its preseason preparations in the Far East, with matches scheduled against local sides in China and Japan.

A six-time European Champion, A.C. Milan is owned by Fininvest, the holding company of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and managed by Carlo Ancelotti. In 106 years of existence, the storied franchise has won 17 Serie A titles, most recently winning the 2004 League title. The Italian superpower finished second in the 2005 Champion's League, falling to Liverpool in penalty kicks after tying 3-3 during regulation this past May. Milan also has a star-studded international lineup featuring Italian national team standouts Paolo Maldini (D), Alessandero Nesta (D), Alessandro Costacurta (D), Filippo Inzaghi (F), and Andrea Pirlo (M), Brazil's Dida (GK), Kaká (F), and Cafu (D), Holland's Jaap Stam (D) and Clarence Seedorf (M), and the current holder of the Golden Ball as the 2004 European Most Valuable Player, Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko.

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.