Real Madrid's onfield summer marketing
operation has swung into action as the nine-times European champions
headed out to the United States for two friendlies in Seattle and Salt
Following a month's post-World Cup break, England star David Beckham was
in the party, as was new 15 million euros (20 million dollars) signing
from Manchester United Ruud van Nistelrooy, a former Beckham clubmate.
Brazilian star Ronaldo, however, will not make the trip as he is
recovering from an operation on his left tibia and only returned to
training last week, a fortnight after going under the surgeon's knife.
Another missing name is combative midfielder Thomas Gravesen, who joined
18 months ago from Everton, but who is now looking for a new club after
being deemed surplus to requirements at the Spanish club and who came to
blows with Brazilian Robinho earlier this month at Real's Austrian
Gravesen in any case looked headed for the exit with Real having just
signed Brazilian Emerson from Juventus, as well as Italy's World
Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro.
The club are still hoping to sign Arsenal's Spanish international star
Jose Antonio Reyes and Marca sports daily reported that the move could
materialise if Real offer the Gunners Brazilian midfielder Baptista in
Real are also after Malian international midfielder Mahamadou Diarra of
French champions Lyon, who would cost them upwards of 25 million euros.
Real, who have brought in coach Fabio Capello for a second spell at the
club to stop the rot of three years without a trophy, were due to fly to
Salt Lake City with a short stopoff in Canada before heading north to
Seattle for a Wednesday friendly with
Thereafter, Beckham and company will fly back to Salt Lake for a
Saturday encounter with local outfit Real Salt Lake.
Real will fly back straight after the game as they have to prepare for a
four-team pre-season tournament in the southern Spanish city of Cadiz
where they will meet Brazilian side Flamengo, top flight Spanish side
Betis and second devision Cadiz.
"Capello has been putting us through our paces already," Cannavaro said
ahead of the trip across the Atlantic.
Real's bitter rivals, European and Spanish champions Barcelona, have
also been boosting their US profile and a record crowd of 92,650 saw the
Catalan club draw 1-1 with Mexico's Chivas on Sunday at the Los Angeles
Diego Martinez rescued a draw for Chivas after new signing from Chelsea,
Iceland captain Eidur Gudjohnsen, had netted for Barca.
Barca's US tour continues Wednesday in Houston against another Mexican
club, America, and concludes Saturday against the New York Red Bulls at
Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Spanish league season kicks off on August 27 when Real face
Villarreal and Barcelona travel to Celta Vigo.