Real Madrid will return to the Washington area this summer to play Arsenal in a heavyweight preseason clash at FedEx Field, people familiar with the planning said.
The July 23 match is part of the International Champions Cup, an annual tour by many of soccer’s most famous clubs.
Last summer, Real Madrid defeated Juventus, 3-1, before 71,597 at the NFL stadium in Landover, Md. The previous two ICC visits featured Spain’s other superpower, Barcelona, for matches against Manchester United (2017) and Chelsea (2015).
Since launching in 2013, ICC organizers have held four matches averaging almost 73,000 at FedEx Field.
The ICC on Wednesday will announce the full schedule, which will include 12 teams and 18 matches in North America, Asia and Europe and run from mid-July to early August. ESPN owns the English and Spanish U.S. rights.
An ICC spokesman said he could not comment on specific matches until the formal announcement in New York.
Organizers did, however, unveil the teams last week: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma, Benfica and Chivas (Mexico).
The Los Angeles Times reported Arsenal will face Bayern Munich on July 17 in Carson, Calif.
Details about a four-team women’s tournament, expected to include one team from the U.S.-based National Women’s Soccer League and three from Europe, will be announced Friday.
Real Madrid is likely to make several changes this summer after crashing out of the UEFA Champions League in the round of 16, ending a string of three consecutive titles and eight straight semifinal appearances.
The Spanish side has also struggled to keep pace with Barcelona in La Liga, sitting in third place, 12 points behind. Zinedine Zidane returned as head coach this month, less than a year after stepping down.
Arsenal, from north London, is fourth in the Premier League, clinging to an automatic berth in next season’s Champions League. This spring, the Gunners have advanced to the quarterfinals of the second-tier Europa League.
Real Madrid will not be the only Spanish team to visit Washington: Real Betis will play D.C. United in a May 22 friendly at Audi Field.