In this April 7, 2013 file photo, AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng, right, and his teammate Mario Balotelli, are seen during a Serie A soccer match between Fiorentina and AC Milan, at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Italy.
By Sam Werner / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Major European soccer is officially coming to Pittsburgh this summer.
Pittsburgh was named as one of the host cities for the 2014 International Champions Cup at a news conference Tuesday in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Specific dates, matchups and venues will be announced Feb. 20, but Pittsburgh’s game is expected to pit Italian team AC Milan against Manchester City of the English Premier League July 27 at Heinz Field. Tickets for that game go on sale Feb. 25 at internationalchampionscup.com.
The competition, which will culminate Aug. 4 with the final in Miami, will serve as a preseason tuneup for the teams, which begin their domestic seasons in late August.
Eight teams were announced Tuesday for the second International Champions Cup. In addition to AC Milan and Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, AS Roma and Olympiakos will make the trip to the United States this summer.
“Speaking to our teams, they are extremely excited to participate,” Relevant Sports CEO Charlie Stillitano said Tuesday. “Mainly due to the tremendous support the games and their teams [have] here in the states and the competitive nature of the ICC that will serve as a great preseason tuneup.”
Other host cities include New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, Arlington, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; and Glendale, Ariz. Two more cities will be announced Feb. 20.
This will be the second year of the International Champions Cup. Last year was a bracket tournament, but this year will have the teams divided up into two four-team groups. Each team will play the other three in its group, and the winner of each group will advance to the final in Miami.
Last year, Real Madrid beat Chelsea, 3-1, in the final in front of 67,273 fans.
For Pittsburgh fans, though, the group-stage game at Heinz Field will offer a chance to see two of the sport’s heavyweights. The stadium last hosted European soccer in 2004, when Chelsea beat AS Roma, 3-0, in a friendly match.
AC Milan plays in Serie A, Italy’s top soccer flight, and is one of Europe’s most recognizable teams. The club has won 18 league championships and seven Champions League titles as the best in Europe. AC Milan’s current squad is headlined by flamboyant Italian forward Mario Balotelli and Brazilian midfielder Kaká. AC Milan was rumored to come to Heinz Field last summer, but the plans never came to fruition.
Manchester City, meanwhile, won its first domestic title in 44 years in 2012 on a dramatic two-goal comeback in its final game of the season.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG.
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