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By Simon Evans
MIAMI (Reuters) - European giants Real Madrid and Juventus are among eight leading clubs who will take part in the first edition of the tournament-style International Champions Cup in the United States starting in July.
Spanish giants Real and Italian champions Juventus will be joined by Inter Milan and Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy, tournament organisers said on Tuesday.
The United States has become a leading destination for European clubs to play lucrative pre-season friendly tours but the eight-team tournament, which will be held at venues across the country, promises to add a competitive edge.
RSE Ventures, headed by billionaire Stephen Ross, also owner of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins, say the tournament will differ from traditional pre-season friendlies by using a knock-out format and offering significant prize money.
Seven-times European champions AC Milan, Turkish club Galatasaray and two leading English Premier League clubs are understood to be in talks aimed at joining the tournament.
A television deal has been struck with Fox Soccer Channel in the United States with worldwide broadcasting deals expected.
"What is different is that this is a real tournament. Obviously in the past we have had friendly matches and some have been very successful," Charlie Stillitano, chief executive of Relevant Sports, RSE's soccer division, told Reuters.
"We are trying to bring a bit of that Champions League magic to pre-season. We know it is not the Champions League but managers have told us they can't go through pre-season playing games that mean nothing."
Real Madrid's director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno, said the format would stimulate the Spanish club's players.
"Playing for Real Madrid means, in any case, you have to win every match but playing a tournament is going to give the players something extra," he said.
Full details of the participating teams and venues are expected by next month but the final will be held in Miami, at the Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium, in early August.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)