Manchester United and Manchester City to face off in China in July
The Premier League giants will clash at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium on July 25. United will also play Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on July 22, with City taking on the German side in Shenzhen six days later
Manchester United and Manchester City will face off in China in July as part of the International Champions Cup (ICC) friendly tournament, the English Premier League rivals announced on Wednesday.
The teams will meet at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium on July 25, in what will be one of City’s first matches under incoming manager Pep Guardiola, who replaces Manuel Pellegrini at the season’s end.
United will also play Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on July 22, with City taking on the German side in Shenzhen six days later.
“I think it’s great news we’re coming on tour to China,” former United captain Nemanja Vidic told MUTV. “We have so many followers in the country, over 100 million fans, and it’s good to visit them and spend some time with them. They’re really passionate about United.”
Other teams involved in the ICC games include Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Premier League leaders Leicester City.
It will be United’s 11th trip to China, where the club estimates it has 107 million supporters.
“Manchester United has strong historical links with China and we are very proud of our relationship and of our fans throughout the country,” said United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
“A total of almost 500,000 supporters have attended previous games during our visits to China and we have always enjoyed exceptional support in the country, so naturally it is something that everybody is very much looking forward to this summer.”
United’s most recent game in this part of the world was a 5-2 victory against Kitchee at the Hong Kong Stadium in July 2013. It attracted a sell-out 40,000-crowd despite the pitch being in appalling condition.
China has become a key commercial battleground for the Premier League’s leading teams.
A Chinese consortium bought a 13 per cent stake in the parent group of United’s cross-town rivals Manchester City in December, two months after President Xi Jinping visited the club during a state tour.
On Tuesday, City announced a new regional partnership with sports activity brand SoccerWorld, which will see coaches from City visit China twice a year to train local coaches.