When Real Madrid and Manchester United kick off this weekend at Michigan Stadium, home of the University of Michigan football team, it could be the start of a record-breaking day. Both teams, well-known powerhouses among the most and even some of the least knowledgeable fans, will be playing in a game that could boast more than 100,000 fans. The former record for a soccer game held in the United States? It’s 30 years old and was set during the 1984 Olympics in Atlanta, with a then-record crowd of 101,799 people.
For non-American readership, this “football” match should be a big one. And ironically enough, if the stadium brings in anywhere near the number of fans it does for the Wolverines’ football games (a 251-game streak of more than 100,000 fans), it should far surpass the current record. But these fans won’t just be Michiganders from around the area. The game is expected to draw an eclectic group of viewers: European expats who live in the United States and rarely get to watch their favorite teams, as well as Canadians and Americans from all over. At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter who’s cheering — it’s that they are there and watching two of the best European clubs square off in the United States.
Naturally, this game brings with it high expectations. Tickets weren’t cheap, the teams are highly touted, and fans are hoping to watch (live being the key aspect) some of the best soccer they have and might ever see. As part of the International Champions Cup Tournament, this game will be one of many played across the United States by the biggest and best European soccer teams. Whether the Real Madrid-Manchester United game lives up to these lofty expectations is anybody’s guess. But until Saturday comes, here are three potential storylines you’ll be reading about after the big matchup.