The AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 31 (9 pm ET, ESPN/UniMas/TSN/RDS, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) will be stop number one on a three-game preseason swing through North America for Serie A's AS Roma, but one club legend insists that the quality of talent on the field – on both sides – will make the encounter much more than a simple preseason friendly for the Italians.
"I believe that going up against a team that has players like [Thierry] Henry, [Tim] Cahill, Robbie Keane or my good friend [Marco] Di Vaio will make the game much more than a simple preseason test for us," Roma captain Francesco Totti said in an exclusive interview with FutbolMLS.com.
"The fact that they have beaten [a team like] Chelsea speaks for itself," the former Italian international added. "There will be a lot of quality on the field, so I bet it will be a beautiful encounter in which the big winner is the spectacle."
Though Roma have spent preseason in North America previously, this will be the first time they, or any Italian team, will feature in MLS' showcase summer event.
"There's no doubt the for both me and Roma it's a great honor to be able to play in this game. We're very happy to have been invited by MLS and to be the first Italian team to play in the All-Star Game," Totti added. "I believe it's an unequivocal sign of the international recognition Roma has and goes to show that the club is doing well at spreading the the image of the club across the globe."
After the All-Star Game, Roma will train in Boston before a two-game swing on the East Coast, first facing Toronto FC on August 7 in Toronto before heading down to Washington, D.C. to face Chelsea of the English Premier League.
And though the 36-year-old Totti brushed aside continued talk about any possibility of joining MLS in the future, he did save some high praise for the league he's become familiar with over the past few years.
"It's a championship that has grown a great deal in the past few years and has become very competitive on a technical level as much as a tactical level."
This article originally appeared on FutbolMLS.com, with David Ruiz contributing to the reporting.