In the world of soccer, there actually probably isn’t anything bigger except for perhaps the World Cup.
Real Madrid C.F. and FC Barcelona will meet in El Clasico Miami as part of the 2017 International Champions Cup. The game, featuring the greatest rivalry in soccer, at Hard Rock Stadium on July 29.
This will mark only the second time the two clubs have faced each other outside of Spain, the other time coming all the way back in 1982.
“This is like winning a Super Bowl bid,” Ross said. “I hope it’s so great that we can get them to play each other again and come back. I mean, I think being Miami and South Florida, it’s such a Hispanic culture, and having the two greatest teams in the world and right now for the foreseeable future the two greatest players (Cristiano Ronaldo of Real and Lionel Messi of Barcelona) amongst all the other great players that are from Argentina, Brazil and other parts, Colombia, and those fans coming to see the greatest players from their country as well I think is a big draw. Where do you get to see that? You can’t go to Barcelona and see it. You can’t go to Madrid to see it because it’s totally sold out. But it’s a game to them. This here is an event.”
The match between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be the feature event of a series of activities over several days, something Ross likened to Super Bowl week.
Among other things, there will be a party at Hard Rock Live and another soccer match between teams to be announced later.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have participated in the International Champions Cup since its inception in 2013, but getting them to play against each other is a major coup.
The match was announced at a press conference Friday at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. On hand for the announcement were Dolphins President/CEO Tom Garfinkel, RSE Ventures President/CEO Matt Higgins, Dan Marino,
When he spoke Friday, Garfinkel referenced the 2015 the press conference announcing the stadium renovations and Ross’ declaration that it would turn the stadium into a global entertainment destination.
“This proved that we’ve accomplished that,” Garfinkel said. “We’ve got concerts like U2, Metallica, Coldplay. We’ve got now this fantastic rivalry and soccer match. … The rivalry is real and to have the greatest players in the world like Messi and Ronaldo here playing will be fantastic.”
Landing a top matchup like Barcelona-Madrid took some work and negotiating, and Ross said the work paid off when the teams played to a 1-1 tie in Spain in December.
“What’s really more exciting is really for Miami,” Ross said. “When we renovated the stadium and spoke to the mayor got the support of them, to create one of the really great showplaces for major events in America. Now that the stadium is renovated, this will kick off what I think will be the great events.”