Spain’s FC Barcelona and Italy’s SSC Napoli, two prominent international soccer teams, will compete in the inaugural LaLiga-Serie A Cup Aug. 10 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
The LaLiga-Serie A Cup, expected to become an annual event, pits teams from Europe’s top soccer leagues in an effort to increase awareness of the world’s most popular sport in the United States.
“LaLiga has recognized the importance of international expansion, especially in the United States, which is why we have dedicated significant resources through our joint venture with Relevent Sports Group,” says Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, Spain’s major soccer league. “The creation of the LaLiga-Serie A Cup is in line with our mission to create more opportunities for U.S. fans to celebrate LaLiga and we look forward to this new annual tradition to bring our clubs to America each summer.”
Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Serie A, Italy’s top soccer league, says, “This Cup is the start of something incredibly special for both leagues to compete in front of thousands of fans in the biggest media market in the world.”
FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli are two of the most successful franchises in their respective leagues. A 26-time LaLiga and five-time UEFA Champions League champions, FC Barcelona holds the league record for the most Copa del Rey (30) and Supercopa de Espana (13) titles, as well as European records for the most UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (4) and UEFA Super Cup (5) wins.
“It’s always a point of satisfaction to go to the United States and to be able to get closer to our fans, even more so if we can face an opponent that has the quality and class of SSC Napoli,” says Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of FC Barcelona. “Moreover, we will have the chance to play in two iconic stadiums, such as Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, where we played the very special LaLiga El Clásico in the summer of 2017, and Michigan Stadium, the largest in the United States. We will try to put on a show that will allow our American fans to enjoy our style of play.”
SSC Napoli is one of the most successful Italian clubs, having won two league titles, five Coppa Italias, two Supercoppa Italiana titles, and one UEFA Cup. This will be SSC Napoli’s first trip to the United States in three decades.
“Our club hasn’t been to the U.S. in over 30 years, and to have the opportunity to reintroduce SSC Napoli to the American market in this historic matchup against a world-class club is huge for us,” says Aurelio De Laurentiis, chairman of SSC Napoli.
Soccer returns to U-M’s “Big House” after setting the record for the largest U.S. crowd in soccer history, 109,318 for a match between England’s Manchester United and Spain’s Real Madrid in 2014.