Manchester United to play friendly in Australia
By Football News
English giants Manchester United will tour Australia next year to play a friendly match against an A-League all-star team in Sydney.
Football Federation Australia have confirmed the match at a press conference in Sydney on Monday morning.
The Red Devils, who sit six points atop the Premier League after their 3-2 win over local rivals Manchester City on Sunday , last visited Australia 13 years ago where they played two matches against the Socceroos.
The game will be played at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 20, just three days after the third State of Origin match at the same venue.
The timing of the match means local-based Socceroos may not play, with the game coming just weeks after three vital World Cup qualifiers, as well as the beginning of the East Asian Cup tournament.
But the likes of Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero, former England international Emile Heskey and stars like Marcos Flores, Thomas Broich and Shane Smeltz could all combine in the A-League side, which will be selected by the fans.
"Having Manchester United as the opponent for our first ever A-League All Star game will put the A-League on the world stage," FFA chief executive David Gallop said.
"I'm absolutely delighted Australian fans will get to see the Red Devils in action against the best A-League players.
"It's a massive opportunity for our players and one the fans won't want to miss."
While the last time United came to Australia the likes of David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes didn't travel, it's understood the deal is reliant on all the club's big guns travelling Down Under.
It means the club's best players like Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and veteran Ryan Giggs should all make the trip, which should ensure a sell-out crowd of 82,000 at the Olympic stadium.
"The game and training camp that will take place in Sydney will be an important part of the team's preparation for the 2013/14 season," United Chief Executive David Gill said.
"There are three main reasons we go on pre-season tour. First and foremost is the team's preparation for the season ahead. But the tour also allows us to engage with our global fan base and network of commercial partners.
"It has been a while since we last visited Sydney and we are looking forward to renewing our relationship with our loyal and enthusiastic Australian fans."