Michelle Kaufman

Despite rumors, Ronaldo expected at El Clasico Miami

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to join Real Madrid for the July 29 El Clasico Miami match against Barcelona, after taking a summer break.
Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to join Real Madrid for the July 29 El Clasico Miami match against Barcelona, after taking a summer break. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be in Miami on July 29 for the El Clasico Miami against Barcelona, an event source said, despite published reports that he will not travel to the United States with the team for a series of matches over the next few weeks.

Ronaldo is on an extended summer vacation after a long season with Real Madrid, the June 8 birth of his twins and then a run to the June 28 semifinals of the Confederations Cup in Russia with Portugal’s national team. He also is scheduled to testify on July 31 at a tax fraud hearing in Spain, leading to rumors that he would not be able to fit El Clasico Miami into his schedule.

Barcelona and Real Madrid released rosters for the International Champions Cup, and while Barcelona’s includes all its biggest names — Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique — the Real Madrid list was missing Ronaldo’s name.

An official with Relevant Sports, the organization putting on the International Champions Cup and El Clasico Miami, said Ronaldo might miss some of Real Madrid’s U.S. visit, but he is expected to be at Hard Rock Stadium on July 29.

Ronaldo could fly back to Spain on July 30 and be back in time for the court hearing, if need be.

Other Real Madrid stars Keylor Navas, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Marcelo and Toni Kroos are on the traveling roster.

Real Madrid is scheduled to play ICC matches on July 23 against Manchester United in Santa Clara, California, on July 26 against Manchester City in Los Angeles and on July 29 in Miami against rival Barcelona.

The club will then head to Chicago to face the Major League Soccer All-Stars at Soldier Field on Aug. 2.

The Real Madrid-Barcelona match will be just the second time in history that the teams play away from Spanish soil and more than 80 percent of the tickets are sold, with many of the seats going for over $1,000.

ESPN is sending 25 reporters to cover El Clasico Miami and will be broadcasting “SportsCenter” from Bayfront Park and Hard Rock Stadium that week.

In the other big match in Miami that week, Champions League finalist Juventus faces Paris Saint-Germain on July 26.

Tickets for both matches are available through TicketMaster or www.el clasicomiami.com.

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