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Barca headline International Champions Cup as Gerrard prepares for Galaxy debut

SoccerNews in La Liga 10 Jul 2015

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Barcelona lead European football’s elite into a new-look International Champions Cup in July that will see matches take place on three continents.

The previous format of the competition has been revamped for 2015, with three mini tournaments taking place in Australia, China and United States.

Reigning UEFA Champions League winners Barca begin their preparations for the new campaign in the USA alongside the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris-Saint Germain, plus MLS sides LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes.

Luis Enrique’s treble winners will meet Galaxy in their first friendly, before facing the two Premier League sides and finishing with Fiorentina.

The tournament will give Galaxy fans their first glimpse of Steven Gerrard following his move from Liverpool, and head coach Bruce Arena hopes the  friendly matches can help the former England captain gel with his new team-mates ahead of the MLS restart.

“[Gerrard] needs to be a little bit closer to goal, but he’ll work hand in hand with Juninho,” the coach told the club’s official website.

“They’ll get to understand each other.

“We don’t necessarily need to define one or other in the midfield area. They’ll share responsibilities. But we would think that Steven would be a little bit further up the field than Juninho.”

Over in Australia, Barca’s fierce rivals Real Madrid will compete in a round-robin competition with Manchester City and Roma at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

City only have eight senior players – including Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany – within their squad as Manuel Pellegrini focuses on youth.

The Chilean tactician will get a host of other first-team players joining his squad later in the month after they have completed their close-season breaks, a group that includes England number one Joe Hart.

Madrid’s participation in Melbourne will immediately switch to China, where they will then meet Inter and Milan.

The two Italian clubs have strengthened their squads during the close-season after disappointing campaigns in Serie A, with Sinisa Mihajlovic beginning his tenure at Milan.

Mihajlovic will begin the competition with a clash against fierce rivals – and his former club – Inter, with the Milan boss sure to give new signings Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano and Andrea Bertolacci chances to impress.

Inter could also roll out new faces after acquiring Miranda and Geoffrey Kondogbia since the end of last season, the latter opting for Roberto Mancini’s side rather than Milan.

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