There was excitement in the air leading up to the International Champions Cup 2019. Arguably the most anticipated annual pre-season tournament, it once again gives football fans across Asia, Europe and North America a chance to catch their favorite football superstars play live. Stopping in Singapore for the third consecutive year, this year’s edition brought a fresh taste of euphoria for football fans. Relive the incredible weekend atmosphere with a recap of what went down.
A taste of top-flight football right on our doorstep
Juventus were the favorites to capture the Champions League title last season, with the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo newly added to its lineup. But it was Tottenham Hotspur that emerged as the competition’s dark horse, pushing through to the final in dramatic fashion. But the Spurs missed their opportunity to clinch the cup when faced with the daunting task of defeating Juergen Klopp’s menacing Liverpool side. Nonetheless, the presence of the two clubs, along with Manchester United and Inter Milan – themselves with massive histories of success – ensured a powerful lineup for football fans in Singapore.
Charting a record attendance
Those who were right in the thick of the action would’ve noticed how packed the stadium was last weekend. The International Champions Cup 2019 actually trumped the record attendance for each of its two previous editions, with over 100,000 supporters attending the mouthwatering match-ups held at Singapore Sports Hub over two days. With footballing giants like Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan and the ascendant Tottenham Hotspur in town, Singapore fans were right to not miss out on watching these world-renowned football clubs and their stars up close.
Cristiano Ronaldo in the flesh
Not everyone has the opportunity to watch Cristiano Ronaldo play in Italy every week. But thanks to the International Champions Cup 2019, some of us can actually say we’ve watched his brilliance on the pitch live. And CR7, as he is also known, didn’t disappoint with his burst of speed, skills, and knack for scoring goals. Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo netted a goal last weekend and finished off with his signature “right here, right now” celebration, for the first time in Singapore.
Floating with the stars
The football stars didn’t just turn up on the pitch, they turned up for their fans too. Adidas brought out the big guns with mega superstar Paul Pogba, maestro Juan Mata and Manchester United new boy, Aaron Wan-Bissaka making an appearance for die-hard fans who braved the heat at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. After a 1-0 win over Inter Milan the night before, the stars dazzled on stage together with Singapore football legend, Fandi Ahmad, national players, and freestylers to the cheers and laughter from the crowd.
While the spotlight was on perennial favourites like Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, among others, another young superstar made his mark for Juventus last Sunday. Matthijs De Ligt, the 19-year-old former captain of Ajax, made his debut for the Italian giants after completing a reported £67.5 million (approx.S$115 million) move. Fast, strong, and clearly maturing well ahead of his peers, we’re possibly looking at the next defender to bring home the Ballon d’Or in the near future.
A fitting end to a dream weekend
Who could forget Harry Kane’s incredible halfway line goal last Sunday? With a minute to go on the clock before the final whistle, Tottenham Hotspur’s talismanic forward blasted a shot all the way from the halfway line to put his team ahead. If that wasn’t the highlight of the weekend, we don’t know what is.
If you somehow missed out on this year’s edition, you’ll have to wait till 2020 before the pre-season tournament returns to our shores. For now, we have the upcoming football season to look forward to.
What was your favorite moment of the International Champions Cup 2019? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image: International Champions Cup