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Real Madrid striker Marco Asensio (R) fights for the ball with Uruguayan Mauro Arambarri (c), of Getafe CF, during the first day of the League in the First Division that played at the Santiago Barnabéu stadium in Madrid. (EFE)

La Liga will play in the United States

After years of staging only exhibition games, the best Spanish clubs will play true contests on North American soil.

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President of La Liga de Fútbol Profesional Javier Tebas has been criticized by many — mainly due to envy — but he has shown a  great view for the growth of Spanish soccer internationally.

Tebas is one of the reasons La Liga ranks above every other European club competition, having won the last five Champion Leagues. La Liga’s dominance was shown this week when two of its clubs, Real and Atlético Madrid, played with Europe’s Super Cup at stake — Real as winner of the Champions League and Atletico as Europe League’s champion.   

Tebas announced an agreement with multinational company Relevant to play at least one of La Liga’s games this season in the United States. With the objective of maximizing the event, there are huge possibilities one of the two Spanish giants, Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, will be one of the two teams in the contest. The game will be the first one ever hosted by La Liga outside of Europe.   

“We are fully dedicated in growing the passion for Spanish soccer all over the world,” said Tebas. “This revolutionary agreement will enhance the popularity of our beautiful game in the United States and Canada.”

As I wrote in my previous article, the experiment of bringing exhibition games to the United States is finished. North American fans have learned a lot about soccer and want to see the best players in the world. The last International Champions Cup was disappointing. People who attended the games could not watch in person the top stars that participated in Russia 2018 with their national teams, including Messi, the best player in planet football.

Tebas, who has sent ambassadors in recent years all over the world to learn about the different sport markets, will try to emulate the success achieved by the National Football League (NFL) in England, where everything started with a regular season contest in 2007.

First, the NFL staged one game, later two, then three… In 2007, four American football regular season games were held on British soil, adding to a total of 21. Twenty of them have sold out, averaging more than 80,000 attendees per contest at an average price over $100 U.S. Figure out those numbers…

The formula for this soccer game has yet to be defined, and there is no potential schedule or site either. But the recent announcement made by La Liga’s president shoud be received with excitement in the United States. And why not? Maybe soon Philadelphia could host a real game of the world’s best league with three points on the line, rejoicing over the performance of stars like Gareth Bale, Antoinne Griezmann or Lionel Messi.

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