Atlético Madrid have today confirmed their schedule for the upcoming pre-season, announcing four friendlies and a money-spinning tour of Eastern Asia in early August.
Behind the scenes, the idea for a while has been to boost the rojiblancos‘ profile overseas, in particular following investment from Wang Jianlin and the Dalian Wanda group last year.
Jianlin is China’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $13.2billion, and currently owns 20% of the club’s shares.
A delegation, including president Enrique Cerezo and CEO Gil Marín, have been in Beijing this week to finalise details, and a couple of matches against local opponents in China and Japan have now been made official.
Diego Simeone and his squad return from their holidays on July 8th, and as usual will spend two weeks training in Los Ángeles de San Rafael before their first taste of match action.
For the third year in a row we take on Numancia in the Jesús Gil y Gil memorial trophy (we know), which is set for the Saturday 25th July in Burgo de Osma.
Three days later, we travel to north for a clash with Real Oviedo in the Carlos Tartiere, scene of our infamous relegation in 2000. The Asturians recently celebrated promotion back to the Segunda División.
Then, it’s off to the other side of the world and first to Japan, where J-League side Sagan Tosu will be our hosts in the Best Amenity Stadium on August 1st.
Shanghai is the next stop, and a clash with Sven-Göran Eriksson’s team Shanghai SIPG on the 4th. The Swede managed Simeone at Lazio, and also had four years in charge of England’s national team.
In typical fashion, we have still not been given a start date for the 2015-16 La Liga campaign, although it will be either the weekend of August 15-16 or 22-23.
Should it be the latter, Atleti will accept the invitation to take part in the Ramón de Carranza tournament in Cadíz the previous week, which will involve a couple of games on the Friday and Saturday.
However, should league action begin on the earlier date, we won’t be able to participate and will therefore explore other options upon return from the tour.
Definitive fixtures for the new season are expected towards the end of July.