Juventus and Atletico Madrid cancel Israel friendly over security concerns
Italian and Spanish football giants Juventus and Atletico Madrid will not play a friendly set to take place in Israel's second biggest city Tel Aviv on Sunday evening and cited security concerns as the reason for the fixture's cancelation.
Fighting between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military escalated on Saturday after an Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian commander.
Taysir al-Jabari was a senior commander with the al-Quds Brigades, which is a military wing of the Palenstinian Islamic Jihad group, and was slain alongside a number of his fellow militants as part of strikes on a high-rise building in northern Gaza.
The two European clubs have therefore decided against playing their friendly in Tel Aviv, and released a joint statement to announce that the match at Bloomfield Stadium had been scrapped.
"Due to the current security situation, Comtec Group (the match promoter), Juventus and Atletico de Madrid announce that the friendly game between the two teams that was to take place in Israel this Sunday 7 August at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, has been canceled," it read.
The teams' friendly was going to be their last in preseason ahead of their Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga 2022/2023 campaigns kicking off next weekend.
While Atleti visit Getafe on August 15, Juventus get their bid to snatch back the Scudetto from bitter rivals Inter Milan underway on the same day when receiving Sassuolo in Turin.
Later on Saturday evening, however, Juve announced that the game would go ahead after all at their Continassa training center.
Juve-Atletico to be played tomorrow at the JTC.— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 6, 2022
Last weekend, the Bloomfield Stadium hosted Paris Saint Germain as they beat Nantes 4-0 in the Trophee des Champions.
Scoring his side's opener, Lionel Messi later went viral after the rout for stopping a young boy being manhandled by security in search of a selfie with the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.