When Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins dumped roughly a half-billion bucks into renovating Hard Rock Stadium, they promised the improvements would mean renewed interest not only from the NFL in hosting future Super Bowls in Miami, but also from other high-profile sporting events.
Well, Miami already snagged the 2020 Super Bowl, and now it has secured one of the biggest events in soccer. The team announced at the Fontainebleau today that mega-soccer clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid will play a preseason edition of their “El Clásico” rivalry at Hard Rock Stadium July 29.
The pair of La Liga superpowers will play the Saturday-night match following days of concerts and festivities. The Miami meeting will mark the first time a storied “El Clásico” has been played outside of Spain since 1982, when it was played in Venezuela.
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Sports Illustrated recently reported that Dolphins owner Ross and numerous high-ranking officials with both clubs had been in negotiations since late last year to bring an "El Clásico" to Miami. Ross and Dolphins executives attended a breakfast meeting in Madrid with Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez and other club executives December 2 to hammer out the details.
Sure, the game is preseason and won't really count for much. But it's a fair bet that the teams will bring their superstars like Messi and Ronaldo, and it's almost certain Hard Rock Stadium will be packed for two of the biggest teams in world soccer.
The meeting between the powerhouses will be part of the International Champions Cup. Barcelona is also scheduled to play ICC games at to-be-announced venues against Juventus July 22 and Manchester United July 25.