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Juventus to play in MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta on Aug. 1

UPDATED: Thu., March 22, 2018, 11:37 p.m.

Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Tottenham in the Champions League. Juventus will play in the MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta in August. (Frank Augstein / Associated Press)
Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Tottenham in the Champions League. Juventus will play in the MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta in August. (Frank Augstein / Associated Press)

Juventus will play in Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game in Atlanta on Aug. 1.

Leading the Italian League as it pursues a seventh straight Serie A title, the Bianconeri will be the latest high-profile European club to face the top MLS players in the annual showcase. Real Madrid won last year’s game in Chicago on penalty kicks.

Led by forwards Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, Juventus is Italy’s most successful club with 33 league championships.

Juventus is the second Serie A team to play in the All-Star Game, following Roma in 2013. The European opponent has won the past two All-Star games since MLS beat Tottenham in 2015.

“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,” Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said in a statement. “It will also be a great chance for the many Juventus supporters in North America to see their team and favorite players.”

NYCFC star David Villa, the league’s 2016 MVP, has made the last three All-Star games.

“It’s a great tool for the MLS to get more fans around the world because the All-Star team plays against some of the best teams in the world,” Villa told The Associated Press. “The fans of those clubs get to know the league and start to follow it closer.”

Neither Italy nor the United States made the field for this year’s World Cup in Russia, making it more likely players from those countries will appear in the game, said Atlanta United President Darren Eales.

“We couldn’t be happier to be hosting it,” Eales said. “It was amazing how the city got behind Atlanta United last year and it continues this year. We had nearly 73,000 for our first home game, which set a new record. So this is a city that’s hungry for soccer. I think that we’re going to be great hosts.”

Atlanta saw incredible success as an expansion team last year, setting a league attendance record with an average of 48,200 fans.

This season’s home opener against D.C. United drew an MLS-record 72,035.That bested the previous record of 71,974 set by Atlanta at last season’s home opener.

United has drawn three crowds of more than 70,000 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, also home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.


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