Leicester’s City pre-season finale sees Julen Lopetegui’s outfit visit King Power Stadium on Sunday (6pm BST kick-off), as preparations for the new Premier League season come to a close.
Games against Preston North End, Derby County, Hull City, OH Leuven and Notts County have so far provided the majority of Brendan Rodgers’ squad with the opportunity to get minutes under their belt, though this weekend’s clash is likely to pose the biggest test to date.
Tickets remain available for the fixture, which will be 23rd time that City have faced Spanish opposition, and the 13th time they have played against them on home soil, dating all the way back to October 1961…
A maiden meeting with Villareal
Ryan Bertrand & Ricardo Pereira
Ending pre-season with a win, this time last year.
Leicester’s last fixture against a Spanish side came almost exactly a year ago as the newly crowned UEFA Europa League winners arrived at King Power Stadium on 4 August 2021. The game, a five-goal thriller, ended 3-2 in City’s favour, though the result was overshadowed by a long-term injury to Wesley Fofana, which would rule him out of the majority of the upcoming season.
Çağlar Söyüncü, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Pérez scored the Foxes’ goals that night and they took that form into competitive action, beating Manchester City in the FA Community Shield three days later, before opening their Premier League account by overcoming Wolverhampton Wanderers the following week.
An even record against Valencia
Leicester City vs. Valencia
City's 2011 pre-season preparations took the squad to St Veit.
Out of the three matches against Valencia, Leicester have won one, lost one and drawn one. The first, on 2 March 1987, was played at the Mestalla and saw Alan Smith’s 21st-minute goal separate the sides.
Next, 24 years later in July 2011, the teams faced off again, this time as part of a pre-season tour in Austria. Again, a sole first-half goal decided matters, though it was Jonas who provided the decisive blow for Los che.
Finally, 1 August, 2018 was the date of the most recent meeting, Leicester’s penultimate pre-season game ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, which began under Claude Puel. Kelechi Iheanacho’s 11th-minute strike set the tempo on Filbert Way, with the Nigeria international frontman lashing home from close range, though Dani Parejo restored parity eight minutes later, and that’s how it stayed.
Facing giants of Spanish football
Leicester City vs. Real Madrid
An occasion to remember at King Power Stadium.
A star-studded line up containing the likes of Ronaldinho, Xavi and Carles Puyol descended on Filbert Way on 8 August, 2003, as Leicester hosted Barcelona in a pre-season friendly. Javier Saviola netted the only goal that day as the visitors returned to Catalunya with a 1-0 victory.
The next time they faced off, during the International Champions Cup in Stockholm in August 2016, City were Premier League champions. Up against a team captained by Lionel Messi, the Foxes scored twice, courtesy of Ahmed Musa, but were eventually beaten 4-2.
Real Madrid have also provided a pre-season test for the Foxes, who welcomed Los Blancos to King Power Stadium in July 2011. Sven-Göran Eriksson and José Mourinho were the two men in the dugouts for the encounter, a first meeting between the sides.
Lloyd Dyer put his name on the scoresheet, though it wasn’t enough for a result, as Jose Callejon and Karim Benzema had already moved the Spaniards, who introduced Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half, into a two-goal lead.
Champions League glory against Sevilla
Jubilant celebrations around Filbert Way after Wes Morgan's goal.
One of Leicester City’s all-time great European nights, the Foxes overcame a 2-1 first-leg deficit to defeat Sevilla in the second leg of their maiden UEFA Champions League last-16 tie on 14 March, 2017.
A crucial away goal at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, scored by Jamie Vardy, had given the Blue Army belief that they could turn things around and that’s exactly what they did, with strikes from captain Wes Morgan and long-serving stalwart Marc Albrighton.
Following Samir Nasri’s red card, Kasper Schmeichel still needed to save a late penalty from Steven Nzonzi to confirm progression on aggregate, setting up a quarter-final with another Spanish opponent.
Dramatic ties with Atlético
Lining up inside the Vicente Calderón Stadium.
That opponent was Atlético Madrid, a notoriously difficult side to face in European competition. After Antoine Griezmann had converted from the spot in the first leg, Leicester were still well in the tie.
Six days later, on 18 April, 2017, the pair resumed their last-eight battle in front of a ferocious King Power Stadium crowd. Saúl Ñíguez’s goal midway through the first half looked to have put the game beyond City, but they fought back when Vardy restored parity on the night.
Despite their best efforts, the Foxes were unable to muster another and bowed out of the competition with their heads held high.
Ian Marshall bundles the ball into the net to give Leicester the lead in Madrid.
Atlético were also Leicester’s first Spanish opponents some 62 years ago. A two-legged European Cup Winners’ Cup match-up began at Filbert Street and Ken Keyworth scored in a 1-1 stalemate.
However it ended in a 2-0 defeat for Matt Gillies' men in the Spanish capital as Atlético gathered steam to ultimately lift the trophy – only the second team to do so.
It was the first of three competitive visits to Vicente Calderón. The next, in September 1997, was a UEFA Cup First Round clash. Ian Marshall handed the visitors a dream start, but Los Rojiblancos hit back through Juninho and a Christian Vieri penalty, both within three second-half minutes.
A 2-0 success for Madrid in the return leg at Filbert Street ensured their progression at Leicester’s expense.
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