LOS ANGELES -- Spanish superclub Real Madrid took to their training field at UCLA on Friday, preparing for their preseason tour in the United States, including a friendly match against the best of MLS as part of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game, presented by Target.
Left back and vice captain Marcelo told reporters at a press conference ahead of the training session that he is excited for the challenge of facing the MLS All-Stars.
"There's no such thing as a friendly for us,” said Marcelo. “We always want to win every game. This is preseason and it's really special to be coming up against the MLS All-Stars.”
Preseason is a key part of the formula for success for Real Madrid. Marcelo said it helped them complete their most successful season in club history last year, with four pieces of silverware: La Liga season title, the FIFA Club World Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.
"The preseason holds the key to the whole campaign,” said the Brazilian defender. “Last year we had a very good preseason. When you get to the end of the season with real strength, it's because you've had a really good preseason, and that's the most important thing to enable us to fight for silverware on all fronts."
On MLS, Marcelo praised the growth of the league, and said that he has been keeping an eye on it.
“I follow the division a bit. It's improving a lot, and in a few years' time, it'll be a really great league."
That growth has also sparked rumors that Marcelo could potentially transfer stateside, to which when asked, Marcelo reiterated his commitment to Madrid, but again complimented MLS.
“Real Madrid is my home, I'm very comfortable at the club and I want to stay here for many years to come. I follow MLS a bit and it's improving massively.”
Los blancos start their pre-season slate on July 23 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., facing former manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester United as part of the International Champions Cup. Man United are holding their training sessions at UCLA as well, and they face LA Galaxy at StubHub Center in another friendly on Saturday at 10 pm ET on ESPN2.
The 2017 MLS All-Star Game, presented by Target is set for August 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago, with kickoff at 9 pm ET (FS1, UniMás, TSN in Canada).