There was an early start on Wednesday with a flight to catch and a European giant to face in Miami, and the two-hour journey from DC to Florida passed quietly, with one or two snapping pictures out of the window as we approached our destination city.

From the airport the squad was whisked away to a hotel, the same one we stayed in last pre-season before playing at the Sun Life Stadium against AC Milan. The 9.10pm kick-off made for a lot of free-time, with the squad scheduled to depart shortly after 7.

When the time came, traffic delayed our arrival at the stadium, forcing kick-off back by another 15 minutes to allow time for a proper warm-up.

Before our game, LA Galaxy met Milan, with the Italians winning 2-0, and former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini played the first 45 minutes for the American side before speaking to our TV channel and chatting with another ex-Blue, Andriy Shevchenko.

Among the Real contingent were of course Carlo Ancelotti and Paul Clement, who both mingled with players and staff including Jose Mourinho, while Zinedine Zidane emerged from the tunnel as the sides warmed up.

Nobody puts on a show quite like the Americans, and their pre-match entertainment, with dancing robots, strobe lighting and fireworks probably outdoes what even our own Neil Barnett produces at Stamford Bridge on a matchday.
The teams finally arrived in the arena under a spotlight with more fireworks, meaning the action itself was going to have to be pretty good to keep the attention of the locals in the stands.

Fortunately, it was. Real, popular among the Hispanic population of Florida, began strongly and took the lead but Chelsea quickly levelled and looked the equals of our opposition, although Cristiano Ronaldo’s two very different goals showed why he is seen as among the world’s very best.
There were plenty of positives to take though, while acknowledging there is still work to be done before we face Hull City on August 18.

Watching from the stands was Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks ‘power forward’ who visited London with his NBA team in January, and was awarded a Chelsea shirt on a visit to the Bridge. He still wears it proudly and spoke to the official club website before the match kicked off.

Down in the tunnel after the game there were a lot of reunions, with Rui Faria chatting with Luka Modric, Real players in the Chelsea dressing room, Zinedine Zidane speaking with Eden Hazard and former Chelsea assistant Paul Clement speaking at length with remaining coaches Chris Jones and Steve Holland. Despite all the media stories around Mourinho’s departure from Real, there was a real sense of camaraderie in the humid Florida air.

Soccer - Guinness International Champions Cup 2013 - Chelsea v Real Madrid - Sun Life Stadium

From the stadium it was straight to Miami airport, with check-in and security completed outside the Sun Life Stadium before boarding the coach, which dropped the squad at the plane on the tarmac. The travelling party was scheduled to arrive back at its Washington hotel in the early hours of Thursday morning.



Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club

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