World Football: Top 6 Preseason Cups to Look Forward to This Summer
It's that time of season again, when a lot of teams are back for preseason training already.
After just a month and a half off, most of the players reassemble, slightly earlier this year due to no World Cup, to begin preparations for the new season.
Amongst all the pre-season training, and the friendly warm up matches, there are a number of friendly warm up competitions which always provide a nice start to the season.
Most of the biggest teams are back in action again this year, in numerous competitions around the globe.
So here they are, six of the best preseason tournaments, coming to you throughout July.
2011 Vodacom Challenge
Teams involved: Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Tottenham Hotspur
Dates: 16th July - 21st July
Favourites: Tottenham Hotspur
For some players it will be another summer spent back in South Africa after last year's World Cup, and for Tottenham it will be a good challenge to start the season.
On paper, Tottenham should be far and away the strongest team, but based on past years of this competition it's never as straight forward as it seems.
2011 Emirates Cup
Teams involved: Arsenal, New York Red Bulls, Paris Saint-Germain, Boca Juniors
Dates: 30th July - 31st July
Arsenal have made the most of their new stadium since it's opening a number of years ago, and whether it's by sponsors demands or not, they'll be hosting another Emirates Cup again this year.
Although perhaps an ever so slightly weaker line up than some of the past competitions, none of the teams taking part are by any means push overs. It will also see a welcome return for Thierry Henry at Arsenal.
2011 Premier League Asia Trophy
Teams involved: Chelsea, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Kitchee
Dates: 27th July - 30th July
Generally hosted every two years, with Tottenham winning the last edition back in 2009, the Barclays Asia Trophy takes three Premier League teams to, believe it or not, Asia.
This year it will be Hong Kong side, Kitchee, that will take on three top Premier League clubs, hopfeully making it a good challenge for all involved.
MLS All-Star 2011
Teams involved: MLS All-Stars, Manchester United
Dates: July 27th
Favourites: Manchester United
Not as much an entire tournament, but still a good competition.
Manchester United will again, this year, face off against a team of MLS stars as they look to bring more attention to the sport in the states. Could David Beckham feature somewhere?
Audi Cup 2011
Teams involved: Internacional, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, AC Milan
Dates: 26th July - 27th July
The Audi Cup will be held once again this year and has a sterling line up of teams. Top Brazilian side Internacional, will take on three European clubs that could quite easily make up most of the Champions League semi finals without any questions asked.
Taking place over two days, it will be a good test for all of these sides to start their season's against the best the world has to offer.
The Dublin Super Cup 2011
Teams involved: Celtic, Airtricity XI, Inter Milan, Manchester City
Dates: 30 July - 31 July
Favourites: Inter Milan
Finally, the Dublin Super Cup 2011. Another very strong lineup of teams, which despite Manchester City's recent growth, would have to have Inter Milan as the pre-tournament favourites.
They'll also face Scottish runners up Celtic, and "Airtricity XI," a team made up of players from around the Irish league to try to increase knowledge of football in that area.