Juventus confirmed as MLS All-Star Game opponent

Giorgio Chiellini - Juventus
The Serie A giants will face a squad of MLS stars at the annual midseason spectacle in Atlanta

Juventus has been confirmed as the opponent for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta.

The Serie A champions will face a squad of MLS stars in the league's annual summer showcase Aug. 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Juve and MLS announced Thursday.

"We welcome Juventus — one of the world’s iconic clubs — as our opponent for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a news release. "Our midseason showcase annually attracts the most prominent clubs in global soccer, and this year our All-Stars will face one of the sport’s most historically successful teams.

"And we can't think of a better city to host the game than in Atlanta, which due to the incredible success and popularity of Atlanta United, has rapidly captured the attention of the entire soccer world."

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MLS confirmed Atlanta as the All-Star Game host in October following a debut campaign from Atlanta United that saw the club set a league record with 48,200 fans per game. Gerardo "Tata" Martino's side also broke its own MLS single-game attendance record earlier this month when 72,035 spectators saw Atlanta earn a 3-1 win over D.C. United.

An MLS side has faced a European club in the All-Star Game each of the past 13 years, with the MLS squad posting a 7-4-2 record. Real Madrid defeated the All-Stars on penalties after a 1-1 draw in last year's match at Soldier Field in Chicago.

"We are happy to represent European football in this year’s MLS All-Star Game," Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said. "It's an opportunity to get closer to the passionate American soccer fans. For many years, Juventus has considered the United States and Canada as a crucial market for growing our presence as shown by the opening of our new academies and our digital strategy that has greatly expanded the possibility to connect with fans on this continent.

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"The first team and the game, however, will be the main show that Juventus offers and we are proud to be in Atlanta."

Juve has a two-point lead over Napoli in the Serie A standings as the Bianconeri look to secure a seventh straight league title.

Massimiliano Allegri's men will face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals next month, marking a rematch of last year's final won by Los Blancos.
"It will be a pleasure for us to play in this game and feel the energy of MLS, an ever-growing league attracting more and more passionate fans," Allegri said. "It will also be a great chance for the many Juventus supporters in North America to see their team and favorite players."