Champions League final: Emotions stripped from football by the pandemic were restored in full technicolour in Porto | UK News


A younger lady emerged from the Estadio do Dragao with a Chelsea scarf draped round her shoulders and a tear-stained face.

“I was sobbing at the final whistle,” she mentioned. “This was truly the best day of my life. I will never forget this moment.”

Her boyfriend felt the similar.


“After everything that we’ve been through in the last year with the pandemic, just being here and back inside a stadium felt magical, and then the result to top things off, amazing,” he mentioned.

Fans celebrate in front of an inflatable trophy
Fans have fun in entrance of an inflatable trophy

It is these feelings which have been stripped from football by the pandemic – however right here in Porto, they were restored in technicolour.

Last season, the Champions League trophy was lifted earlier than empty stands. Now the gamers were capable of have fun with family members and pleasure burst from their each pore.

At the far facet of the pitch, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s mum raced down from the stands.

Clutching a World Duty-Free plastic bag in one hand and a Chelsea flag in the different, she held her son tightly for an extended whereas.

Mendy had been unemployed at the age of twenty-two and feared a football profession would elude him.

Now he has gained the greatest prize in European membership football.

Keeper Edouard Mendy lifts the trophy
Keeper Edouard Mendy lifts the trophy

His supervisor Thomas Tuchel, who solely took over from Frank Lampard in January, was equally elated, bringing his two daughters onto the pitch and passing them the well-known Champions League trophy to carry.

The German misplaced the Champions League last with PSG final season however outsmarted his reverse quantity Pep Guardiola in Porto.

Portugal stepped in as hosts for this last simply two-and-a-half weeks in the past, changing Istanbul after Turkey was placed on the UK authorities’s journey purple record.

But you would not know that they had solely entered the fray at the eleventh hour judging by how the metropolis was reworked for the event.

The team celebrates lifting the trophy
The workforce celebrates lifting the trophy

The Avenida dos Aliados is one among Porto’s foremost streets, identified colloquially as the metropolis’s “ballroom”, a nod to the grand buildings and the proven fact that many native celebrations occur right here, whether or not sport-related or authorities festivities.

In entrance of the metropolis corridor, followers took selfies beside an unlimited inflatable Champions League trophy.

Chelsea supporters spilled out from bars and cafes onto the pavements, consuming, cheering and singing an ode to their striker, Timo Werner.

Chelsea has won the biggest prize in European football
Chelsea has gained the greatest prize in European football

If it wasn’t for the face masks, primarily being worn by locals reasonably than the guests, it may have been a pre-pandemic scene.

“I think it’s fine because we’re all being sensible,” mentioned Donna from London. “We’ve all had our PCR tests – now it’s just about getting back to normal life.”

Some native individuals right here concern that tourism cash has been prized above public well being, notably with considerations about new coronavirus variants being imported right here from the UK.

But most taxi drivers or waiters in the metropolis say they’re completely happy to have overseas guests returning.

It isn’t just considerations about coronavirus that the native authorities has needed to sort out in such a restricted timeframe.

Any main occasion of this scale requires a safety and policing technique and the Portuguese have performed an excellent job right here, being assertive however not aggressive to sort out any trace of hassle on the horizon.

There had been a 16,500 ticket allocation for the Estadio do Dragao. In the finish, solely 14,110 confirmed up – though the glorious acoustics in the 50,000 seater area made it appear far more full.

Soon, stadiums throughout Europe can be full once more and, for all the debate about whether or not having followers travelling throughout the continent is an pointless threat, they actually lifted the event.

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