For the last seven years, Real Madrid have been invited to participate in the International Champions Cup (ICC) as part of their annual pre-season training session.
The tournament, which originated in 2013, serves as a platform for some of the biggest clubs in football to play club friendlies around the world (almost becoming a mock-Champions League for international fans to enjoy).
Over the years, Real Madrid has participated in fixtures in China, Australia and the United States of America while have managed to win three titles:
2013 ICC: United States of America Champions - Real Madrid 3-1 Chelsea
2015 ICC: Australia - Top of the table with four points
2015 ICC: China - Top of the table with five points
During the inaugural years of the ICC, the club was dedicated to marketing themselves on the world stage and made it a point to bring their best talent to every match with the ultimate goal of winning the tournament in mind.
Within the last four years, however, the club has not taken the tournament as seriously as they used to in the past and are not making the most out of a great opportunity winning only four of their last nine matches.
Other clubs in comparison have used the pre-season fixtures as serious preparation for the upcoming season and put on some of their best performances while letting both experienced and inexperienced players have some time on the pitch.
Due to the design of the tournament, all the teams have a chance to play against opponents who they very well may find themselves up against in the Champions League the following season.
What’s the downfall here? Nothing really. The tournament is a stellar platform for all clubs to improve internally both from a business and performance perspective.
It increases the international fan base and gives players a chance to test themselves against some of the best clubs in the world so players and their coaches must know how to make the most out of the games.
With the disastrous season that occurred this year, Zinedine Zidane finds himself with a great opportunity to re-develop the current squad into the team he wants while also integrating some of the newly signed players.
Young players like Sergio Reguilon, Brahim Diaz, Vinicius Junior, Federico Valverde and Luca Zidane, and Marco Asensio will be able to gain valuable experience they might not get during the 2019/20 season.
Asensio, in particular, is a great example of a player who has benefitted from playing in the ICC scoring against Barcelona in 2017 and being the joint top scorer in last years tournament with three goals (one against AS Roma and two against Juventus).
Thus this summer it is crucial that the French head coach finds a way to motivate his team to take the tournament seriously and use the scheduled matches to play some of their best football as they re-focus for the 2019/20 season.
2019 International Champions Cup Details
This year, the tournament is set to take place from July 16th to August 11th and Real Madrid is one of the two clubs from LaLiga participating in the tournament alongside Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
The team’s schedule is as follows:
July 20th - Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid (NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas)
July 23rd - Real Madrid vs. Arsenal (FedExField, Landover, Maryland)
July 26th - Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey)