VILLARREAL, SPAIN - MAY 15: : Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Real Madrid celebrates with Alvaro Arbeloa after scoring Real's second goal during the La Liga match between Villarreal and Real Madrid at estadio El Madrigal on May 15, 2011 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia Union will be hosting arguably the biggest and most famous soccer club in the world this summer when Spanish giants Real Madrid visit Lincoln Financial Field on July 23rd. The exhibition game is part of the "Herbalife World Football Challenge," an event co-sponsored by Major League Soccer.
Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said, "We are delighted to play another world-class international team at Lincoln Financial Field this summer. This will be another chance for us to showcase that the Union can stand toe-to-toe with the elite teams of the world. We are especially grateful for our partnership with the Eagles and their dedication and hard work to make this opportunity a reality."
Last year, the Union played another one of the world's biggest clubs when Manchester United visited the Linc. Eagles president Joe Banner says the team is excited to continue to host major soccer events at the Linc.
"Lincoln Financial Field has once again attracted one of the world's greatest soccer clubs to Philadelphia, hosting its 10th international match since 2003," said Banner. "We're excited that fans in Philadelphia will have the opportunity to see the Union square off against Real Madrid. And we're proud to bring another headline event to Lincoln Financial Field, which is becoming a great national entertainment destination."
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter believes that the visit from Real Madrid could mean a tourist boon for the city.
"Hosting Real Madrid provides another opportunity to showcase Philadelphia to the world," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. "Philadelphia is a global tourist destination, thanks in part to the success of excellent city venues such as Lincoln Financial Field. We could not be more excited for our city."
The Union were scheduled to face the Seattle Sounders on July 23rd in MLS league play, that game has been rescheduled for October 8th.