Eighteen teams from six of Europe's top leagues will go head to head across the globe for the 2018 International Champions Cup series of pre-season friendlies.
This will be the sixth iteration of the exhibition tournament, with the latest format seeing all 18 teams involved playing three matches with all teams ranked in a single league table.
Highlights include derbies between Manchester United and Liverpool in Michigan and Arsenal and Chelsea in Dublin and a re-run of the 2017 Champions League final when Real Madrid face Cristiano Ronaldo's new team, Juventus, in Landover.
The matches will take place throughout Europe, America and Singapore with Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund starting the tournament on Saturday July 20 in Chicago and matches taking place frequently between then and Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan's clash at the former's home stadium on August 12.
The champions of England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are all involved in this year’s International Champions Cup.
English Premier League
Spanish La Liga
French Ligue 1
Italian Serie A
Portuguese Primeira Liga
Friday July 20
Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund – Soldier Field, Chicago (USA)
Saturday July 21
Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain – Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt (Austria)
Sunday July 22
Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund – Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte (USA)
Wednesday July 25
Juventus vs Bayern Munich – Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (USA)
Borussia Dortmund vs Benfica – Heinz Field, Pittsburgh (USA)
Manchester City vs Liverpool – MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford (USA)
Roma vs Tottenham Hotspur – SDCCU Stadium, San Diego (USA)
Milan vs Manchester United – StubHub Center, Carson (USA)
Thursday July 26
Atletico Madrid vs Arsenal – National Stadium, Kallang (Singapore)
Saturday July 28
Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain – National Stadium, Kallang (Singapore)
Benfica vs Juventus – Red Bull Arena, Harrison (USA)
Chelsea vs Inter Milan – Allianz Riviera, Nice (France)
Manchester United vs Liverpool – Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor (USA)
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens (USA)
Barcelona vs Tottenham Hotspur – Rose Bowl, Pasadena (USA)
Monday July 30
Paris Saint-Germain vs Atletico Madrid – National Stadium, Kallang (Singapore)
Tuesday July 31
Manchester United vs Real Madrid – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens (USA)
Tottenham Hotspur vs Milan – US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis (USA)
Barcelona vs Roma – AT&T Stadium, Arlington (USA)
Wednesday August 1
Arsenal vs Chelsea – Aviva Stadium, Dublin (Ireland)
Benfica vs Lyon – Estadio Algarve, Faro-Loule (Portugal)
Saturday August 4
Inter Milan vs Lyon – Stadio Via del Mare, Lecce (Italy)
Real Madrid vs Juventus – FedExField, Landover (USA)
Milan vs Barcelona – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara (USA)
Tuesday August 7
Chelsea vs Lyon – Stamford Bridge, London (England)
Real Madrid vs Roma – MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford (USA)
Atletico Madrid vs Inter Milan – Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid (Spain)
The most important thing to note about the 2018 International Champions Cup is that, while it is technically a tournament, it is not one in the traditional sense. This is a series of friendly matches, taking some of Europe’s biggest clubs around the globe to showcase them as they build form and fitness ahead of the new season.
A champion will be crowned – Real Madrid have been crowned winners of three of the last five tournaments – but there are no outright winner markets. Instead you should look at match betting and there are plenty of things to consider there too.
As ever with friendly matches, the risk of betting on the games is higher than usual because teams will be at different competitive levels and at different stages of pre-season. Take last year’s International Champions Cup, for example – Manchester City lost their first game to Manchester United, with their rivals having already started their pre-season preparations. Once City built up match fitness and form, however, they thrashed Real Madrid 4-1 and won 3-0 against Tottenham Hotspur as they showed a sing of what was to come during the league season.
This time out, Manchester City could be one of the weakest teams in the tournament as they head to the United States without any of the 16 players who played in the 2018 World Cup. Having given their star names time off after the tournament in Russia, their squad – particularly as their fixtures are earlier in the tournament – will feature very few first-team regulars.
Tottenham Hotspur are in a similar position – they were represented by nine players in the semi-finals, with eight from England and Belgium and Hugo Lloris captaining World Cup winners France. None of those players will travel.
On the other hand, Inter were less affected by the World Cup – Italy’s failure to qualify coupled with the high-profile absence of players such as Mauro Icardi and Radja Naingollan means Luciano Spalletti already has most of his players back in training.
Even those who had players at the tournament may see many return by the end of the International Champions Cup too. Real Madrid play two of their three fixtures three weeks after the World Cup final. That means even World Cup Golden Ball winner Luka Modric might have returned to training, while their Spanish internationals – who exited the tournament in the second round – will have been back in training long before then.
Recommended bet: Borussia Dortmund to beat a weakened Manchester City team on July 20 – 6/4 with Bet365
While World Cup 2018 fatigue might affect some players, there are several big names who did not go to Russia who should be in top condition for the International Champions Cup.
The Wales international has been heavily linked with a move away from Real Madrid but Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure should earn Gareth Bale more playing time next season. One of his potential suitors, Manchester United, face Real Madrid on July 31 – the Welshman would love to play a starring role and, having not played a competitive game since scoring twice in the Champions League final, he will definitely be one to watch.
Key game: Manchester United vs Real Madrid, Miami, July 31
Liverpool have had to wait a year to see Naby Keita in action, during which time he has put in some match-winning performances for RB Leipzig – including a goal and an assist against Bayern Munich back in March. The midfielder, a Guinea international, was not at the World Cup and so will have the full summer to bed into Jurgen Klopp’s system.
Key game: Liverpool vs Manchester City, East Rutherford, July 25
American international Christian Pulisic was hoping for a very different summer but USA’s failure to qualify for Russia 2018 means their finest talent has had to wait until now to remind the US soccer fans of his ability. He is one of several big-name Dortmund players who were not at the World Cup, leaving them with a strong midfield for their forthcoming fixtures.
Key game: Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City, Chicago, July 20
Mauro Icardi scored 29 goals for Inter Milan last season but it was not enough to get into Argentina’s World Cup squad. As his country crashed out in the second round, having won just once in Russia, Icardi was taking the summer off. Inter play their games late in the tournament and were less affected than many other teams by the World Cup anyway. Expect them to be firing on all cylinders.
Key game: Inter Milan vs Lyon, Lecce, August 4
It’s fair to say Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first season with Arsenal did not go to plan as the team lost seven of the 14 games the Gabonese striker played in. His goalscoring form was good, however, scoring ten times and providing four assists and with a new manager in charge, Aubameyang will be keen to impress. Unai Emery faces his old PSG team in the second of Arsenal’s two matches in Singapore – that would be the perfect time to showcase his goalscoring talents.
Key game: Arsenal vs PSG, Singapore, July 28
Play their games late in the tournament and were less affected by World Cup 2018 call-ups, meaning they will be close to full strength when they play their games. The match against Lyon is very winnable.
With a new manager in charge, Arsenal’s players will be desperate to impress Unai Emery. The board have backed him with some big signings already, and the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have points to prove too.
Play all three matches late in the tournament and, though they have three tough fixtures, star players like Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema were not at the World Cup and other key figures – notably their Spanish internationals – made an early exit. They will be close to full strength by the time they face Roma in their final game.
The Premier League champions had 16 players at the World Cup, all of whom have been given time off before returning to first-team training. Given City play all three matches before the end of July, it is likely to be a very weakened City team on show – particularly in their opening two matches against Dortmund and Liverpool.
Spurs had nine players involved in the final stages of the World Cup and that included some key players too – Kieran Trippier, Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris among them. None will be on their American tour.