Singapore plays host to a weekend that will live long in the memory at the ICC 2019

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It was a weekend of superlatives in Singapore.

The Sports Hub played host to its biggest ever crowd for a football match, the same National Stadium witnessed the greatest goal ever scored there, and Singaporeans shared their nation for a few heady days with the most illustrious collection of players and coaches ever to visit this corner of Southeast Asia.

From the moment the line-up for the International Champions Cup (ICC) 2019 was announced back in March, we knew we were in for something special. Manchester United, Inter Milan, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur represented the strongest quartet of competing teams since the ICC first came to town in 2017.

Given the weight of expectation surrounding the tournament though, ICC 2019 still had to deliver, and it duly did so on and off the pitch.

In terms of the on-field action, the 100,000-plus fans (including that record 52,897 attendance for Man Utd v Inter) got what they came for.

Inter and fellow Serie A giants Juve were clearly some way behind the English Premier League clubs in terms of fitness levels, having started their pre-seasons later.

But coaches Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, as well as their Premier League counterparts, gave all their star players a run-out, unleashed new signings and promising young prospects alike, and delivered enough entertainment to send fans away from Kallang with plenty to discuss on the train ride home.

United-Inter was a slow burner of a game, only really coming to life in the second half when Red Devils coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer introduced a raft of substitutes.

One of them, the highly promising 17-year-old Mason Greenwood, scored the only goal of the game, a beautiful finish that belied his tender years.

The stadium was swamped by United fans and they witnessed established stars like Paul Pogba, David de Gea, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in action from the outset, as well as eye-catching signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.

The best game of the weekend came 24 hours later. Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus served up five goals, one of which was scored by the Italian champions' superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, whose every touch of the ball was cheered by legions of fans sporting his name on their backs.

However, the goal of the night - and undoubtedly the greatest ever seen at this stadium - was the one that sealed the win for Spurs: Harry Kane struck a stunning first-time shot from near the half-way line with just seconds left on the clock.

The game also featured solid contributions from Asia's finest player Son Heung-min of Spurs, as well as their new man Tanguy Ndombele and Brazilian Lucas Moura.

Together with the raft of Juventus stars, including new signings Matthijs de Ligt and Adrien Rabiot, the match offered further vindication of the ICC concept which delivers relatively competitive pre-season contests compared to the slow-paced friendlies we used to see when clubs toured Asia unilaterally.

Although the four clubs spent varying amounts of time in Singapore, they all managed to successfully balance their coaches' demands for solid pre-season fitness training sessions with commercial commitments and fan engagement sessions.

From the Fan Zone at the Sports Hub's OCBC Square to Resorts World Sentosa, The Float at Marina Bay and various other locations around town, players from all four teams met delighted fans, competition winners and sponsors, posing for photographs and signing autographs.

Among the highlights, United superstar Pogba enjoyed a sepak takraw kick-about with Singapore football's favourite son, Fandi Ahmad, and eight Tottenham players were involved in a Singapore-record-setting 100-person passing move organised by sponsor AIA.

The ICC also took the welcome step of launching a Legacy Project in Singapore as well as globally.

The local initiative saw club legends attend a coaching session for Special Olympics Singapore at Bendemeer Secondary School.

ICC will offer the non-profit organisation ongoing logistical support as the tournament organisers want their engagement with the Singapore community to endure well beyond the two days of competition at the National Stadium.

Players, coaches and owners of all four competing clubs spoke in glowing terms about their visit to Singapore, praising its impressive logistics and hospitality.

Many of the players said they intend to return with their families on holiday sometime in the future and it is fair to say their committed performances on the National Stadium pitch showed how keen they were to reward both local and visiting fans for the warm reception they received during this exclusive Asian tour.