Thursday night, Major League Soccer announced the first 11 MLS All-Stars who will play in the game against Real Madrid on Aug. 2 at Soldier Field.
But what many fans want to know is this: Will Cristiano Ronaldo be there too? And will he play?
Neither Real Madrid nor Major League Soccer will say if Ronaldo, one of the world’s great soccer players, will be in that game.
The striker’s last game was June 28 in Portugal’s loss to Chile in the Confederations Cup semifinal, which would give him more than a month before the MLS All-Star Game.
He skipped the Confederations Cup third-place game after the birth of his twin boys last week.
Prior to the All-Star game, Real Madrid has three other preseason matches in the U.S.: July 23 vs. Manchester United at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium; July 26 vs Manchester City at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and then July 29 vs Barcelona at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.
But also, as Reuters reports, Ronaldo is also scheduled to testify in Madrid on July 31 in a tax fraud case where he is accused of hiding income from the tax authorities. It’s not clear how that might affect his availability.
For some perspective, last June Argentina would not confirm if Lionel Messi would play for Argentina against Panama in the Copa American Centenario match at Soldier Field. He entered the game in the second half and scored three goals.
Real Madrid is coached by Zinedine Zidane, the former star who played for Real Madrid. In addition to Ronaldo, Real Madrid also has stars Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Kiko Casilla and Pepe.
This marks the first time a team from Spain’s La Liga will appear in the MLS All-Star Game. The MLS All-Stars have previously faced clubs from England’s Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, Mexico’s Liga MX and the Scottish Premier League.
MLS says it will host several events across Chicago the week of the game, concerts, player appearances, and matches featuring young players from across the league.
The first MLS All-Star Game was in 1996 at Giants Stadium. The 2006 game was played at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, home to the Chicago Fire.