Leicester will compete against some of Europe’s biggest clubs in a prestigious pre-season tournament this summer.
The surprise Premier League leaders have been confirmed as participants in the International Champions Cup in Europe and the United States alongside the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain.
Liverpool – who will face Barcelona and a reunion with former star Luis Suarez – Chelsea and Celtic are also in the line-up along with AC Milan and Inter Milan.
The involvement of Leicester – who will play Celtic, PSG and Barca – comes just weeks after some dismissive comments about them by Charlie Stillitano, the chairman of event organisers Relevant Sports.
Speaking after it emerged top officials from some of England’s leading clubs, not including Leicester, had met to discuss the summer tournament, Stillitano said: “What would Manchester United argue – did we create soccer or did Leicester create (it)?”
But Claudio Ranieri’s men, who are five points clear at the top of the Premier League, are now being welcomed to the event.
— Int Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCup) March 22, 2016
Stillitano said: “This is the best roster of teams in ICC history and having them start their 2016-2017 campaign playing against each other will be a treat for both fans and the players.”
Leicester chief executive Susan Whelan said: “An invitation to participate in the International Champions Cup highlights the significant impression the club is making on an international audience. We are delighted to be involved in this year’s competition.”
Games will be played in two continents but the event is officially billed as the ‘North America’ edition of the International Champions Cup.
Leicester will play Celtic at Parkhead, PSG in Los Angeles and Barcelona in Stockholm. Liverpool will face Chelsea at the famous Rose Bowl in Pasadena and AC Milan in Santa Clara before their reunion with Suarez and Barca at a European venue to be confirmed. There have been rumours that could be Dublin.
Chelsea will also play Real Madrid at an as yet unnamed venue and AC Milan in Minneapolis.
One game that will be played in Dublin is Celtic’s clash with Barcelona, while the Scottish side will also play Inter at an unconfirmed venue.