Rangers to take part in ‘prestigious’ Florida Cup tournament

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Rangers are to take part in the Florida Cup tournament, due to be held in January 2018.

The tournament, established in 2015, will take place during the Scottish Premiership’s winter break, and will feature teams from Europe and South America.

Ryan Jack and his Rangers team-mates are put through their paces at Auchenhowie. Picture: SNS Group

Ryan Jack and his Rangers team-mates are put through their paces at Auchenhowie. Picture: SNS Group

Full details of all competing clubs are yet to be confirmed by the organisers, but Liga Águila side Atletico Nacional - former club of goalkeeper Rene Higuita of ‘scorpion kick’ fame and ex-Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla - are also taking part in the tournament, with the Colombian side making their Florida Cup debut.

Teams to have taken part in previous tournaments include three-time runners-up Bayer Leverkusen and their Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg; Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk; Corinthians and Fluminense of Brazil and American sides Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

German side FC Koln were the winners of the maiden Florida Cup, with Atlético Mineiro winning in 2016. In 2017, Wolfsburg and Sao Paulo both won trophies as the tournament was split into two formats.

Starting on January 10, the tournament is described as an ‘international competition... in a format similar to the Davis Cup in tennis’.

Pedro Caixinha said the tournament would be a 'great experience' for his players. Picture: SNS Group

Pedro Caixinha said the tournament would be a 'great experience' for his players. Picture: SNS Group

Each participating team plays two matches, with three points for a win, one point for a draw and an extra point awarded to any team triumphing on penalties after a drawn match (similar to the Betfred Cup group stage rules).

Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha said the club was ‘delighted to take part in such a prestigious tournament’, telling rangers.co.uk: “The Florida Cup will provide top class opposition for us during the winter shutdown in Scotland and the warm weather training in America will be a huge benefit ahead of the second half of our domestic campaign. It will be a great experience for our players.”

Florida Cup chief executive Ricardo Villar said: “We are excited to kick off a World Cup year with some of the world’s leading clubs and stars playing right here in our back yard.

“Our goal is to build off the wonderful success we experienced with the 2017 edition, by creating more entertainment for fans, delivering heart-pounding soccer on the pitch, and driving more tourism and economic benefits for central Florida,” he added.

Details of Rangers’ matches, and the venues, will be confirmed early next month, according to the Ibrox club’s website.

Rangers are due to play in north America next month. The Ibrox side travel to Canada to face Benfica in the 2017 Eusebio Cup at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.