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Looking ahead to preseason

The release of the Premier League schedule for 2008-2009 reminded us that the new season is just around the corner. Many teams in Europe will be reporting back for pre-season training in a couple of weeks, especially those with Champions League Qualifiers to navigate.

Europe’s giants are talking different approaches to this years pre-season games, with several of the them being involved in high-profile pre-season tournaments.

The best pre-season tournament is the Emirates Cup at Arsenal. The tournament takes place the first week of August and the four teams are Arsenal, Hamburger SV, Juventus, and Real Madrid. Will the Emirates Cup mark the debut of Cristiano Ronaldo with Real Madrid?

Emirates Cup Tickets

Arsenal are also playing in the Amsterdam tournament this year with Ajax, FC Sevilla and Inter Milan. It will be an interesting to see what ex-Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho does at Milan this year and who, if any, former Chelsea players he buys.

Amsterdam Tournament Tickets

Mourinho ‘s former team Chelsea tours the world with a 2 1/2 week preseason tour that includes stops in Asia and Russia where they will play in the Railways Cup in Moscow against Lokomotiv Moscow, AC Milan and Sevilla.

European Champions Manchester United have a tour of South Africa which will be the charity Shield game at Wembley against Portsmouth.

Community Shield Tickets

It’s not technically a pre-season game but Manchester United fans can also look forward to playing in the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco against Zenit St. Petersburg on August 29th.

UEFA Super Cup: Manchester United – Zenit St. Petersburg Tickets

Liverpool have lined up a series of traditional friendlies in Europe against Hertha Berlin, FC Lucerne, Wisla Krakow and Villarreal. With U.S. owners, I wonder when Liverpool will engage in a U.S. pre-season tour?

FC Barcelona are touring America with games in Chicago and New York City.

As a result of the Euro 2008 tournament the summer transfer season has not began. Expect that to change in another two weeks as these teams retool their squads for the upcoming season. With so many big names players rumored to be changing teams, this season pre-season promises to be more interesting than any in recent memory.