While fans around the world were glued to their screens to watch the Champions League final – not to mention 65,000 packed into the Estadio do Luz, I had a day with a difference.
I flew out to Ibiza to the Heineken Star Final, and watched the game with Real Madrid hero Fernando Morientes and former Atletico star Luis Garcia.
Legends on either side of the Madrid divide, the two former Champions League-winners were bound to have different takes on the Lisbon showpiece.
After appearing the night before at a beach dinner for hundreds of competition winners, Garcia and Morientes showed off their skills by shooting into a floating goal in the Mediterranean, aided by some truly impressive jetskiing skills.
After proving that I’m better off writing about football than playing it with a spot of beach soccer, I caught up with the two stars to gauge their nerves before the game.
Morientes was predictably hell-bent on Real securing the famous ‘La Decima’ – their tenth European Cup – while Garcia was quietly confident Atletico could do the double over their illustrious neighbours by following up winning La Liga in spectacular fashion and winning the Champions League.
Former striker Morientes left you under no illusion who he thought the bigger team was, saying: ‘La Decima is not life or death, but it’s the most important thing for the club, the city and the supporters.
‘It’s the biggest competition in Europe and Real Madrid are the most important club in the world, so it’s a necessity.
NYON, Switzerland — Champions League winner Real Madrid was punished by UEFA on Friday for “racist incidents” by its fans during a semifinal match against Bayern Munich after some supporters displayed a Nazi banner.
Two sections of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium — sectors 120 and 122 — will be closed for the club’s first home match in the Champions League group stage next season.
“Real Madrid are obliged to display a banner with the wording ‘No to Racism’ in those sectors,” UEFA said.
Fans displayed a banner with a Nazi symbol during Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Bayern on April 23. Madrid won the second leg 4-0 in Munich.
Madrid beat city rival Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time to win its 10th European title last Saturday.
It marks the latest act of racial abuse and discrimination in Spain in recent months, including two cases involving Atletico.
Without naming Spain, UEFA reminded its member federations this month to take a tougher line on racist incidents.
In March, Atletico was fined 10,000 euros ($13,600) by UEFA for incidents at a Youth League match against Manchester City. UEFA also ordered Atletico’s stadium to be partially closed for its next home match in that competition.
It’s something that nobody seems to have told Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos, who has added to the horrible World Cup trophy tat on his right calf – by getting the Champions League trophy inked on to the other one.
Ramos had vowed before the final with Atletico Madrid that he’d get the tattoo if Real won the match, and until his very late header to send the match into extra time, it looked like being a promise he wouldn’t have to keep.
However, as well know, Real crushed their rivals in extra time, and now Ramos has taken time out from the Spain squad preparing for the World Cup to get the tattoo. It’s lovely…