With the 2018 World Cup now just a distant memory, thought now return to club football.
The International Champions Cup first came into being way back in 2013, and is the brainchild of American billionaires Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins. Since its inaugural season, the ICC has grown in importance year on year, offering a valuable blueprint for the season ahead.
These are the matches that should not be missed for the 2018 iteration of the tournament.
1. Manchester City vs Liverpool: 28 July
All four of Manchester City’s fixtures against Liverpool were memorable in their own way. The first brought a 5-0 victory for City, but the next three, two of which were in the Champions League, all brought thumping Liverpool victories.
Klopp and Guardiola are managers always willing to play attacking football even in the tightest of fixtures, but in a pre-season match with the pressure off, this match could be a riot.
It will also be interesting to see how new signings Keita and Fabinho fit into Liverpool’s lineup, while the match may also see former PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez don the light blue of City for the first time. Liverpool fans will a be eager to see what sort of shape Mohamed Salah is in, with recent reports claiming he is back to full fitness.
This one takes place at the MetLife Stadium, New Jersey, at 01:05 am GMT.
2. Manchester United vs Liverpool: 28 July
Liverpool return just two days later, but this time against one of their most historic rivals, Manchester United.
These matches are always feisty affairs no matter the circumstances. United manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping to send out a signal to the footballing world after an underwhelming 2017/18 season in which the Red Devils failed to win a trophy.
It’s been over two years since Liverpool defeated Manchester United in any competition, so fans of the Reds will be hoping to break that duck, and regain the bragging rights.
What makes this fixture even more tasty is the fact that it will be played at Michigan’s ‘Big House’ Stadium, with the attendance figure expected to be close to 115,000. You can catch this one at 10:05 pm GMT.
3. Barcelona vs Tottenham: 29 July
Tottenham go head-to-head against four time European champions Barcelona at the Rose Bowl in California.
This could be a key test for Tottenham as it will show how close they are to becoming one of Europe’s top sides. Harry Kane will be absent after winning the World Cup Golden Boot, whilst Lionel Messi will be hoping to return to form after a disappointing tournament with his Argentina side.
If Spurs can win this one, then they will be going into the regular season with a huge amount of confidence. This one starts at 4:05 am GMT.
4. PSG vs Atletico Madrid: 30 July
France’s World Cup heroes Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann could return to club action on opposing sides, but given their World Cup excursions it remains to be seen whether they’ll feature.
Mbappe had an astounding World Cup, scoring four goals, with his pace being critical to many of France’s goals. All eyes will be on him to see if he can sustain his international form in the club game after an underwhelming first season for PSG.
Meanwhile, Griezmann returns for Los Rojiblancos after announcing his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid, where he will be joined by new signing Thomas Lemar.
Both Atletico and PSG have been on the cusp of greatness for some time, and this match could indicate which one will achieve it.
This match takes place in Singapore and starts at 12:35pm GMT.
5. Real Madrid vs Juventus: 4th August
This match centres around one man: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Following his shock move to Juventus, Ronaldo will play what could be his first match for the Old Lady, against his former employers Real Madrid.
It will not only be interesting to see how Ronaldo fits into Juve’s starting lineup, but also how Real Madrid will adjust to life without their star man.
This match may also feature the likes of Bale, Modric, Higuaín and Dybala, so expect a high quality, exciting affair, between two sides who will be vying for Champions League glory.
This one takes place at FedEx Field, home of NFL side Washington Redskins, and it begins at 11:05pm GMT.