Man United announce Stockholm friendly

Manchester United have added another game to their mammoth 24,500-mile pre-season schedule.

Phil Jones, Shinji Kagawa and Ryan Giggs of Manche

The Red Devils will face AIK in Stockholm on August 6 as part of preparations for David Moyes' first full season in charge.

Coming just seven days after United return from their five-country tour of the Far East and Australia, and ahead of testimonials for their own defender Rio Ferdinand and Swansea's Alan Tate, plus the Community Shield meeting with Wigan on August 11, it means their overall travel schedule is just 500 miles short of an entire trip around the world's circumference.

There are sure to be eyebrows raised at the physical strain it will leave on players as, even if the vast majority are not involved in all the games, many will also have an international commitment to fulfil on August 14 ahead of the new campaign, which starts the following weekend.

Moyes will learn his first Premier League opponents when the fixtures are released on Wednesday morning.

However, if he was unaware of the worldwide affection in which United are held, it will be rammed home by the reaction they receive on their expedition.

For, as with the Far East and Australia - where tickets for the July 20 encounter with the A-League All Stars were snapped up inside 20 minutes - the Old Trafford outfit are hugely popular in Sweden.

Their visit to the Friends' Arena, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a memorable hat-trick to condemn England to a 4-2 defeat in November, is virtually certain to be a sell out.

"We are looking forward to this opportunity to play against one of the most successful clubs in the world," said AIK managing director Thomas Edselius.

"We are therefore always interested in playing against top level European clubs and are proud that Manchester United has chosen AIK for this match."

Manchester United chief executive David Gill added: "This match is our first against AIK and will provide a tough test for the players as the new campaign approaches.

"As a club, we have visited Sweden many times and of course, one of our Treble winners of 1999, Jesper Blomqvist, appeared 30 times for the Swedish national team, as well as playing - and scoring - against United for Gothenburg in the Champions League."

***Manchester United's pre-season schedule***

July 13 - Singha All Stars XI (Bangkok) - 5961 miles.

July 20 - A-League All Stars (Sydney) - 4675m.

July 23 - Yokohama F Marinos (Yokohama) - 4849m.

July 26 - Cerezo Osaka (Osaka) - 241m.

July 29 - Kitchee FC (Hong Kong) - 5978m.

August 6 - AIK (Stockholm) - 1734m.

August 9 - Sevilla (Old Trafford).

August 11 - Wigan (Wembley) - 390m.

August 14 - Swansea - 450m.

August 17 - New season begins.



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