Manchester United Face Real Madrid at Levi’s Stadium

CARSON, CA - JULY 15: Manchester United starters pose for a photo before the match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at StubHub Center on July 15, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - JULY 15: Manchester United starters pose for a photo before the match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at StubHub Center on July 15, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Two legendary football clubs come to the Bay Area in preparations to start the upcoming season. A resurgent Manchester United team looks to put on a show against European champion Real Madrid in Santa Clara.

Manchester United make a return to the Bay Area as the team is on a summer tour in the United States. The club is taking part in the International Champions Cup, a tournament comprised of perennial soccer powerhouses in Europe. Also known as the “Red Devils” the club last made an appearance at Levi’s Stadium in 2015 in a 3-1 victory over Barcelona.

Since the departure of legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, Manchester United has lost their footing amongst top clubs in Europe. Since Ferguson’s departure, managers David Moyes and Louis van Gaal have been unable to replicate success resulting in termination. Now in his second year, Jose Mourinho is giving reasons the club will get back on top. Mourinho guided the club to a UEFA Europa League Championship last season to secure an automatic berth in the Champions League.

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The Premier League title is not Mourinho’s objective this season as he hopes to accomplish a feat no other manager has accomplished. Also known as “The Special One” for his success, Mourinho is looking to become the first manager to win a Champions League title with three different clubs. He won titles with Porto (Portugal) and Internazionale (Italy) and hopes to win a third.

United’s roster has the caliber to re-assert their authority in European Football from past and current signings under Mourinho.

Transfers have been lean under Moyes and van Gaal due to the team not finishing at the top of the standings to qualify for the Champions League. The result has been players transferring to other clubs to play in Europe’s top tournament.

Mourinho made a splash last season when the club announced a record fee for French striker Paul Pogba. In his early years, Pogba was part of Manchester United before joining Italian side Juventus. Pogba decided he wanted to return to United and play for Mourinho in hopes of winning trophies.

Money has never been an issue with Manchester United though having the financial benefits from being the Champions League allows Mourinho to acquire players to fit his style. Romelu Lukaku is a name to look out for this season. At only 24-years old, the Belgian international is a threat to score at any moment. Expect Lukaku and Pogba to carry the goal production this season for United.

For United supporters filling the home of the San Francisco 49ers, a familiar face who wore the Manchester United kit years ago will be playing for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid is coming off an impressive season due to Cristiano Ronaldo as the club captured a La Liga title and Champions League title. Ronaldo scored two goals to help his team defeat Juventus in the final. Both teams entered halftime 1-1, and Real Madrid came out with more energy to catch a flat-footed Juventus side off guard.

Ronaldo’s fame initially began at Manchester United. Once he became a starter, Ronaldo started smashing records in the Premier League. His goal scoring prowess kept United on top of the league and helped the team win the Champions League in 2008.

Grateful for his time at Manchester, Ronaldo chose to take on a new challenge at Real Madrid. Lionel Messi was making a name for himself at Barcelona, setting La Liga on fire. After Ronaldo joined Real, the two rivals have been trying to outmatch each other throughout the season.

Manchester United
CARDIFF, WALES – JUNE 03: In this handout image provided by UEFA, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid at National Stadium of Wales on June 3, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Handout/UEFA via Getty Images) /

Along with Ronaldo, Real will feature critical players who contributed in lasts season’s success. Defender Sergio Ramos keeps the defense in check, thwarting any attacks opponents may bring. Gareth Bale and Kareem Benzema can strike at any distance. Teams often focus too much on containing Ronaldo leaving his teammates open to score goals.

Pogba and Lukaku are not the only featured players as United presents a formidable lineup. From the start of the summer tour, Mourinho is tinkering with his lineup before the season gets underway. Marcus Rashford looks to be a mainstay as the young Englishman is only blossoming in his early career. Last season, Henrikh Mkhitaryan had mixed results when arriving in Manchester. He proved his worth in the Europa League and looked to build off of late season success.

Inaugurated in 2013, the International Champions Cup brings clubs across Europe to compete overseas during the summer. The quality of play lacks though top players from the clubs take part to get ready for the upcoming season. Regardless of the outcome, soccer is a beautiful game to watch as the top clubs in Europe always put on a show.

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A battle of champions will ensure at Levi’s Stadium between Manchester United and Real Madrid for early bragging rights. No matter who is in the lineup, the players will compete until the final whistle. The match will certainly have heated moments as both clubs will look to set the tone throughout the contest.