All signs are pointing to a Spanish summer in the GTA, at least as far as Toronto FC are concerned.
Plans are nearing completion for one of the world's biggest soccer clubs to visit BMO Field, as Real Madrid are set to be unveiled in the next few days as TFC's opponents for a friendly match to be played on Friday, Aug. 7.
The nine-time European champions will be travelling to North America for a two-game series against Major League Soccer opposition, with a game in Washington against D.C. United - announced yesterday - to take place on Sunday, Aug. 9, two days after the visit to Toronto.
As a result, the originally scheduled fixture against the New York Red Bulls has been moved from Aug. 9 to Saturday, June 13, which Paul Beirne, TFC's senior director of business operations, confirmed yesterday.
Toronto FC will also be installing a temporary grass surface on top of the artificial turf at BMO Field to accommodate the 31-time Spanish league champions, although whether that surface will remain in place for the remainder of TFC's MLS schedule is not known.
Ticket prices have also yet to be confirmed, although Toronto FC are said to be pursuing another opponent for a second exhibition game to fulfill their one-game commitment to season ticket holders, enabling the Real Madrid tickets to be sold at a premium, and not inclusive of season ticket packages.
Real Madrid themselves now begin an off-season of uncertainty, having watched fierce rival Barcelona sweep all before them in winning an unprecedented treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and, most recently, the Champions League, the first Spanish club to complete the trophy hat trick.
That will not sit well in the Spanish capital, and with a new club president set to be installed next month, the world's second most valuable team - estimated to be worth $1.35-billion (U.S.) by Forbes magazine - could boast many new stars by the time it arrives on these shores.
The favourite to take over is former Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the architect of the galacticos era, during which time the club acquired soccer luminaries such as Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and David Beckham.
While those three have all moved on to pastures new, Perez has hinted he would try to sign Brazilian star Kaka in his "presidential promise," although French winger Franck Ribery and reigning FIFA world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo are also high on the wish list. Whether any of them don the famous all-white strip of Madrid will be seen in due time, but just the thought of them gracing the "grass" of BMO is enough to whet the appetite.Report Typo/Error