Argentina to play four friendlies in the USA

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina have signed with a U.S. marketing company to play four friendlies in the United States by 2014, Argentine Football Association agent Guillermo Tofoni said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Reuters, Tofoni said the first match could be played in September when there were two FIFA international dates for Euro 2012 qualifiers which were free for South American teams.

"We want to open the market for the national team which is a very strong brand," he said. "It's a brand that is as strong as or stronger than that of Real Madrid or Barcelona."

Tofoni said Argentina, which was also looking at the Asian market, had a brilliant generation of young players and could bring together Lionel Messi from Barcelona and Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid in a single team.

"Add to that (Carlos) Tevez who is playing in England," he said.

The deal was announced in Chicago by Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN), a private company with experience in arranging sports and entertainment events in the United States.

CMN did not disclose the financial terms but Tofoni said: "It's for a minimum of $1 million plus expenses."

He added there was an option to renew the contract.

CMN chief executive officer Henry Cardenas Cardenas has experience of staging soccer matches in the United States since the early 1990s involving Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Paraguay and a series of friendlies between Mexico and Argentina between 1999 and 2002.

He has also organised games between club sides, targeting specific ethnic communities in cities around the United States including a Buenos Aires "clasico" between arch-rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate at the Miami Orange Bowl in 2002.