Whether you’re a big fan of European sides living in China who can’t wait to get the chance to see his favorite players up close or whether you deride these tours as a boring money grab, the summer season is upon us.
This year it’s English heavy, with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea all making the trip. Barcelona’s not coming this year, but instead it will be Real Madrid, while fans of Italian football will be treated to the Milan derby at the Bird’s Nest. Here’s a full list of the summer friendly schedule:
Liverpool vs. Guangzhou Sunray Cave
July 13 – Guangzhou
cheapest ticket RMB100, most expensive ticket RMB800
Liverpool makes its maiden visit to mainland China, but chooses Guangzhou, close to it’s major Hong Kong fan base. They are also being very considerate, Chinese Super League has matches scheduled for the next day, so Liverpool will play Guangzhou’s second division club.
Arsenal vs. Hangzhou Greentown
July 14 – Yiwu
cheapest ticket RMB180, most expensive ticket RMB1580
Arsenal’s returning to China for the first time since 1995 when they lost 1-0 at Worker’s Stadium to Beijing Guoan. The first time in years they’re not in Austria for their summer camp and I’m not going to be in China (massively depressed about that). Of all places to make a return to China, Yiwu? I’m left with one word, WHY?!?
Barclays Asia Trophey
July 27, 30 – Hong Kong
cheapest ticket HK$130, most expensive ticket HK$460
Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, and Aston Villa will be taking part in this biennale competition, this time in Hong Kong. Chelsea was supposed to come to Beijing in 2009, this time they’ll be taking part and are the main (and only) draw.
Real Madrid vs. Guangzhou Evergrande, Tianjin Teda
August 3, 6 – Guangzhou, Tianjin
cheapest ticket RMB150, most expensive ticket RMB1900
It’s going to be a great summer for fans of English soccer in Guangzhou, weeks after Liverpool leave, Real Madrid comes to town, and they aren’t so concerned with disturbing the local league. After Guangzhou, they’ll head to Tianjin to face off against Teda (on a Chinese Super League matchday, looks like more rescheduling).
Inter Milan vs. AC Milan
August 6 – Beijing
cheapest ticket RMB199, most expensive ticket RMB3999
Is this the first time the Milan Derby will be played outside of Milan? This has become something of a tradition, every year a major match around the time of the Olympics anniversary, the Bird’s Nest will be used for only the second or third time of the year (can’t imagine the pitch will be in good shape).
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