Manchester United to play A-League All Stars
SYDNEY (AFP) –
English Premier League giants Manchester United will play the Australian A-League All Stars in a one-off game in Sydney next year, Football Federation Australia said on Monday.
The match at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on July 20 will be United’s first match Down Under in 14 years and will be part of their build-up to the 2013/14 season.
Organisers said Sir Alex Ferguson would bring his full squad for the match with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Nani expected to play in front of an 80,000 sell-out crowd.
The Red Devils last played in Australia in 1999 against the Australian national team in Sydney and Melbourne, but their big names David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and manager Ferguson remained at home.
FFA said the A-League All Stars team would be selected by fans and could feature Sydney FC’s Italian star Alessandro Del Piero and possibly English striker Emile Heskey and Japanese midfielder Shinji Ono.
United, who have won a record 19 league titles, sit top of this season’s Premier League after Sunday’s 3-2 win over crosstown rivals Manchester City.
“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.
“It’s a massive opportunity for our players and one the fans won’t want to miss.”
Manchester United chief executive David Gill said the Sydney match would also allow the glamour club to engage with its global fan base in Australia.
“There are three main reasons we go on a pre-season tour,” Gill said in a statement.
“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.”