Chelsea’s summer pre-season tour may exclude the United States for the first time in a few years. Yesterday, Chelsea announced that the club will be playing friendlies in Malaysia and China in July 2008.
In prior years, Chelsea played friendlies in California and Illinois. Most notably, the Blues played against L.A. Galaxy in 2007 and against a MLS All-Star team in 2006.
Chelsea’s match in China is scheduled for July 23, while the game against Malaysia will take place on July 29.
Typically, Premier League teams return to training after their summer break around July 4. The challenge with this summer is that many players will be participating in Euro 2008. That tournament ends on June 29, and players must be given time to recover from the competition (especially if some of the Chelsea players progress through the tournament to the finals or semi-finals).
The Chelsea players that may be impacted by Euro 2008 (if selected by their country) include:
Nicholas Anelka (France),
Petr Cech (Czech Republic),
Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal),
Florent Malouda (France),
Michael Ballack (Germany), and
Paulo Ferreira (Portugal).
At least Chelsea knows that its English players will be able to return to training in early July. Even still, it’s going to be a lot to ask for those players to train in England and then head out to Asia and back to England before the start of the 2008-2009 season. Throwing a trip to America into the mix looks extremely doubtful at this stage.