Real Madrid to play in MLS All-Star Game in August at Soldier Field

Real Madrid will provide the opposition for this summer's Major League Soccer All-Star Game, the league confirmed on Saturday.

In a long-expected matchup, the defending UEFA Champions League winners will play a team of top MLS players on Aug. 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The All-Star Game has featured a European opponent every summer since 2005, but this will be the first time with a team from La Liga.

Madrid previously backed out of the 2004 event, for which MLS ended up reverting to its original East-West format. The MLS squad has won nine of 14 games against foreign competition, but lost 2-1 to Arsenal last year.

The game will cap Madrid's U.S. tour that will also see Los Blancos face Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona in the International Champions Cup in July.

Before the tour, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will have participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup with Portugal. He would have 31 days between the final on July 2 and the game in Chicago.

MLS has previously made top players' participation part of the game's contract requirements, as in 2014 when Bayern Munich had players like Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer fly to Portland hours before the All-Star Game after winning the World Cup with Germany 24 days earlier.

The league also announced that Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic, a former player for Real's local rivals Atletico Madrid, would coach the All-Star team.

"It is an honor to represent Major League Soccer and to work with our league's great players in a match against one of the top clubs in the world," Paunovic said in a statement. "I know how special it is to compete against Real Madrid and I think our players and fans will also enjoy the experience."

Soldier Field, the home of the NFL's Chicago Bears and former home of the Fire, was used for five games at the 1994 World Cup and four at both the 1999 Women's World Cup and last summer's Copa America, and also hosted the CONCACAF Gold Cup finals in 2007 and 2013.