- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009

Even though Real Madrid reportedly is receiving a $1 million appearance fee for its game Aug. 9 against D.C. United at FedEx Field, United team president Kevin Payne said the club expects to profit from the match, which could sell out.

With Madrid recently signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, the 2008 and 2007 FIFA world players of the year, respectively, the game has taken on renewed interest.

“I’m positive we are going to make money on this game,” Payne said. “We negotiated a good price, and when we did it we were very confident that Real Madrid was going to go out and sign big players, so it’s worked out pretty well. And Real Madrid is not done yet. They got Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, and who knows whether they’ll sign Franck Ribery or David Villa. There’s even talk about Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

Ribery is a French national star who plays for German club Bayern Munich. Villa, who plays for Valenica, helped Spain win the 2008 European championship as its top goal scorer. Ibrahamovic is a Swedish star who plays for Inter Milan. All three players have been connected to Madrid.

While roughly 92,000 is a lot of seats to fill, Payne said ticket sales are going well. United announced this week that the lower bowl had nearly sold out.

“We are putting together a very aggressive promotional plan up and down the East Coast, including Miami, New York, New Jersey and Boston, and I think we’ll get fans travelling from far and wide to this game,” Payne said. “It will be an event, I think. Right now we are already at a point where the lower bowl - some of the best sections - are starting to sell out. It’s a massive stadium, but we’ve sold a lot of club seats and a lot of the best seats in the lower bowl have already gone.”

When United played Real Madrid in a friendly at Qwest Field in Seattle in 2006, 66,830 fans attended the game.

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