As always the lead up to the new European campaign is packed with some mouth-watering fixtures.
The FIFA World Cup is over, only for pre-season friendlies to begin. There’s more on offer for the fans before the European season finally kicks-off. All the big European clubs will play against each other in some of the most eye-catching friendlies. All the players and coaches who were or are on the move this transfer window will finally get to feature for their new clubs for the first time.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Alisson Becker, Naby Keita, Emre Can and many others will finally get a chance to prove to the fans that their big-money moves are worth it. While the likes of Maurizio Sarri, Julen Lopetegui and Niko Kovac will will face their first tests as the managers of some of the biggest clubs on the continent.
Khel Now takes a look at nine such games that you would not want to miss:
9. Liverpool Vs Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund have already started the pre-season positively. The Germans from Signal Iduna Park defeated Manchester City courtesy of a Mario Gotze penalty. Now they play Liverpool on Monday, the 23rd of July.
The game will be the first meeting of the two teams after what was described as one of the greatest games in the history of the Europa League – the semi-finals tie which Liverpool won 4-3. It has been very long since then and while Liverpool have gone on to play the Champions League final, Dortmund have been going down even in the domestic league, let alone European games.
8. Juventus Vs Bayern Munich
This time, the Bundesliga champions will be competing with the Italian champions, Juventus. Juventus have added the names of Ronaldo, Can, Joao and Cancelo, while they have extended the stay of some of their core players in Giorgi Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Douglas Costa.
The inclusion of Cristiano Ronaldo in the pre-season tour will be crucial for Juventus
With so much success in the transfer window, the fans would not want to wait much and see their team succeed on the pitch. The two teams play each other on Thursday, 26th July.
7. Arsenal Vs PSG
Unai Emery was shown the door by PSG to make way for ex-Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel. Emery then joined the Arsenal ranks to replace Arsene Wenger. Now the game to be played on Saturday, 28th July, will give Emery a chance to beat the team that he coached for two seasons.
Unai Emery goes up against his former employers
Arsenal, relishing the big new signings, will want to leave behind all the disappointment of the last few seasons and look to the future with optimism under the new manager. For a start, they would want the Gunners to beat Neymar’s PSG.
6. Manchester City Vs Liverpool
The fixture that was played four times last season, Manchester City Vs Liverpool will be more exciting than ever ever, given that the Reds eliminated the Citizens from the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season.
With the kind of transfer window Liverpool have had, the quality on display in the game will be even higher. The game is to be played on Thursday, 26th July.
5. Manchester United Vs Liverpool
Just three days after the City game, Liverpool will face yet another Manchester team in the Champions Cup. Arch-rivals Manchester United will face the Reds on Sunday, 29th July. The Manchester teams, this time for a change, have been quiet in the transfer window with no marquee signings made by United yet.
While Liverpool has have the biggest transfer window, further bolstering the squad that finished as Champions League runners-up. Will this mean Liverpool finally dominating Manchester United in the long rivalry? Only time will tell
4. Bayern Munich Vs Manchester City
In the second game on the list featuring Bayern Munich, Premier League champions Manchester City will play them. City are coming into the pre-season after one of the best seasons in their history, masterminded by the former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
After failing to make a mark in his first season in the Premier League, Guardiola has finally found his feet in England and in a way that they looked almost untouchable. The tactician will reunite with his previous team, Bayern on 29th Sunday, 29th July.
3. Manchester United Vs Real Madrid
On Wednesday, 1st August, in a replay of the UEFA Super Cup, Manchester United will look to avenge their defeat against Real Madrid from last season. Real beat United 2-1 and took home their third title of the season a year ago.
After powering France to the World Cup and guiding Belgium to a third-place finish respectively, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku will want to win big laurels with their club as well. For a start, winning against Real Madrid would be exactly what they want.
2. Real Madrid Vs Juventus
After allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to leave and join Juventus, Real Madrid have made a point – that they don’t rely on a single player. The talismanic forward leaving, a new manager joining the club and change in the transfer policies of Los Bloncos mean that the club is preparing for life after the current squad as well. All of while winning Champions League titles for fun.
Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics against Juventus
On the 5th of August, Real Madrid will face the same goalscoring beast of whom they once boasted, praised and worshipped for nine years, for the first time. It would be a game every Real Madrid fan won’t wish to see.
1. Community Shield
The FA Community Shield is a “glorified friendly” as described by former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson. Although, considered as the Super Cup of England by the FA, it is played with the rules of international friendlies.
This time, Manchester City and Chelsea will be competing for the honours. Chelsea are in transition, where they are rumoured to be set to lose two crucial players to Real Madrid after having opted for a change in management. Manchester City will start as favourites given the turmoil at Chelsea. But, will Guardiola help City beat the Blues or will Maurizio Sarri have some plans up his sleeve?