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Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan heading to China for International Champions Cup

Real Madrid will return to China this summer as part of the annual International Champions Cup, expanding from its traditional US home to incorporate both Australia and China this time around.

Joining Los Blancos will be Milanese duo AC and Inter who will play a “derby” fixture in the first of the three encounters scheduled for late July.

While not universally popular in China, especially among more passionate supporters of local football, such tours normally attract considerable crowds and attention as supporters flock to see some of European football’s bigger names.

Real notably signed a recent sponsorship deal with Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Luyuan, their first region-specific tie-up in the country, as well as partnering with Guangzhou Evergrande with regards their academy.

AC Milan, meanwhile, are currently surrounded by continuous speculation regarding possible future Chinese ownership. The likes of Evergrande, Wanda, Alibaba and Huawei have all been mentioned as possible investors.

With that in mind, it is perhaps understandable that both sides are seeking to further enhance their brand in China at this particular moment in time.

Indonesia-owned Inter, meanwhile, are heavily rumoured to be targeting Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zhang Linpeng on the advice of the club’s former manager Marcello Lippi.

There is also strong speculation that the Nerazzurri will also take on Bayern Munich in China away from the Champions Cup tournament.

The tournament will take place in China in conjunction with LETV, who have recently expanded their sports operations including title sponsorship of the newly formed Women’s Super League competition.

Lei Zhenjian, CEO of LETV Sports, said on Wednesday: “International Champions Cup China marks LETV Sports’ expansion into sporting events operation and promotion.

“The move demonstrates our commitment to developing the LETV Sports ecosystem by not only providing unique and innovative content across PC, mobile devices and smart TV, but also bringing world class sporting events to Chinese sports fans.”

Whether sports fans will take to keeping up to date with their teams using an “ecosystem” remains to be seen, but the company’s considerable investment in the sport is another positive for the game in China—albeit it is supporters of European sides who benefit on this occasion.

AC Milan vs. Internazionale – Longgang Stadium, Shenzhen.

Internazionale vs. Real Madrid – Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou.

Real Madrid vs. AC Milan – Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai.

Based in Guangzhou, Christopher covers Chinese football for a range of media outlets worldwide and is Wild East Football's lead editor for news content.   His work can regularly be seen on ESPN FC, Bleacher Report and Hupu amongst other media outlets, while he has interviewed a number of leading figures in Chinese football.

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