Real Madrid to play Inter Milan on grass (!) at UC Berkeley

Photo: RealMadrid.com
Real Madrid star player Cristiano Ronaldo likes pointing to himself. Photo: RealMadrid.com

Real Madrid and Inter Milan will meet in the first-ever international soccer match at Cal Memorial Stadium on July 26.

For fans of what the rest of the world calls football, the chance to see two of the most storied teams in the game on — for this game only — natural grass at Memorial Stadium should prove a treat. The teams are playing in the confected International Champions Cup, which brings eight great European squads for a round of so-called friendly matches in the U.S. 

“It’s a unique opportunity to bring two of the world’s biggest soccer clubs to the world’s leading public university,” said UC Berkeley vice chancellor for administration and finance John Wilton at the announcement of the game Friday. “It’s part of our strategy to diversify revenues, and financially support our athletics programs and our core mission of excellence and access in academics and research. As part of the agreement, 25% of the soccer match guarantee will be dedicated to academic scholarship support.”

Under new vice chancellor for real estate Robert Lalanne, the university has become far more focused on generating revenues from its property assets (as well as finding savings in operations). The thoroughly renovated stadium now contains office and classroom space, as well as facilities for parties and conferences.


Real Madrid has won a record nine European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles (and will play for the decima against Atletico Madrid on May 24). Inter Milan (for the politically minded) is Milan’s non-Berlusconi team, with 18 scudetti (Italian league championships) and three European Cup titles.

Real Madrid no longer boasts about a team of galacticos (a few years of losses to Barcelona put paid to that idea), but does star Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Wales’ Gareth Bale, Croatia’s Luka Modric and Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Inter will finish a historically poor fifth in Italy’s Serie A, but has a team packed with great Argentine players, including Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito.

The match in Berkeley will be less than two weeks after the World Cup finals in Brazil, which could affect the availability of some of the star players.

Tickets for the general public for the July 26 match go on sale this Friday, May 16 at 9 a.m., with prices starting at $45. Cal season ticket holders, students, faculty and staff can buy tickets before the Friday sale date.

Related:
Old Cal Memorial Stadium for sale, one bleacher at a time (06.27.12)
Cal Memorial Stadium unveiled after 21-month renovation (08.27.12)
With Stadium reopening near, Cal revamps ticket sales (08.07.12)
Final section of press box is installed at Memorial Stadium (10.13.11)
UC Berkeley’s best work on renovating Memorial Stadium (09.09.11)
Inside Berkeley’s newest, most discreet building (08.08.11)

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