Why Juventus, Real Madrid stars say Rose Bowl friendly matters

For someone who’s been playing football for as long and changed clubs as many times as Ángel Di María, it’s not uncommon to find yourself playing against the jersey you once wore.

That’s exactly what Di María will experience on Saturday when the newly acquired Juventus midfielder meets Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly at the Rose Bowl.

Di María, who won six trophies in five seasons with Real Madrid, signed for Juventus three weeks ago after spending seven years at Paris Saint-Germain. At 34, he is hoping for a fourth World Cup with Argentina, where his 122 caps surpasses only Lionel Messi among active players. To do that, he’ll need to prove his fitness quickly after making just 22 starts in all competitions last season, the fewest in a decade.

“From the day I arrived, my colleagues treated me great and they all integrated me into the group very quickly,” Di María said in Spanish. “That’s important to me.”

Di María and midfielder Paul Pogba, who played for Manchester United last season, are among the four main signings the team made during the summer transfer window. Familiarizing them with the style of Juventus and their new team-mates was a key focus of the club’s three-game preseason in the United States, their first since 2018.

Ángel Di María raises his arms after receiving a medal on the field.

Argentina’s Ángel Di María celebrates after receiving a medal at the end of the Finalissima match between Italy and Argentina June 1 at Wembley Stadium.

(Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

Di María started in the first two games and has played 122 minutes over the past eight days in a 2-0 win over Chivas in Las Vegas and a 2-2 draw with Barcelona in Dallas. He has previously played with Real Madrid and PGS in the US and finds them valuable even if the result doesn’t really matter.

“It’s a place that people don’t see these clubs a lot,” he said. “The stadiums are always full. The results in these games do not have much influence. Do what the coach asks. Show that we are physically fine. Try to get to know your teammates.

“We’re also trying to make a beautiful show out of it.”

The tour comes as Juventus refit after their first failed-to-win season since 2011. Among those departed is former captain Giorgio Chiellini, who signed with LAFC last month. Among the returnees is US national team midfielder Weston McKennie, the subject of numerous transfer rumours, who didn’t play in the team’s first two shows but was able to see action in the Rose Bowl match.

For Real Madrid, on the other hand, the tour follows a season in which they won both La Liga and Champions League crowns, losing just nine times in 56 games in all competitions. And only three of the 23 players who qualified for the Champions League final did not return, including winger Gareth Bale, who also signed for LAFC.

“Even though we won the Champions League, we have a lot of opportunities to improve,” said Carlo Ancelloti, the only coach to have won four Champions League titles. “It’s not easy to get better than last season because last season was an exceptional season, an exceptional season.

“But in our mind it is to try to improve. The system now we have more confidence. We have more knowledge in our system.”

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a record nine saves in the 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final, said the win only fueled his urge to prepare for another win.

“When you win a few trophies, it’s like adrenaline to keep winning,” he said. “You want to repeat that feeling of winning trophies and important trophies.”

Playing in the US is also something to repeat, said Courtois, whose last summer tour was here in 2019. Real Madrid had planned a US tour for 2020 that included a friendly against Barcelona, ​​which organizers wanted to host at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, but was canceled by COVID-19.

“I love going to the States,” said Courtois, who played 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat by Barcelona in Las Vegas last weekend and his team’s 2-2 draw with Club America in San Francisco on Tuesday suspended. “To be able to go back there after a few years because of COVID is exciting.”

Ancelloti called it “a responsibility”.

“Real Madrid have supporters all over the world,” he said. “We’re doing our best to bring joy to our fans in the United States.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2022-07-29/real-madrid-challenges Why Juventus, Real Madrid stars say Rose Bowl friendly matters

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emma@ustimespost.com.

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