Yet another season of European football is coming to a close. Domestic cup and league winners have been announced, the UEFA Europa League Champions have been crowned as Villarreal beat Manchester United after a historic penalty shootout, and now there is only one thing left to do. UEFA Champions League is without a doubt the most prestigious trophy in world club football. Since the best teams are located in the Old Continent, the remaining continental championships are considered second-tier in comparison. It is the dream of every kid who likes the sport to one day lift the iconic trophy. Not many get the chance as there is so much that needs to happen and come your way to even get to the final in the first place.
Now that there is nothing else to occupy our football oriented minds, at least not until the European Championship starts this summer, all eyes are on this all-English final between rivals who both wear blue as their primary color. Manchester City and Chelsea F.C. are this year’s title last teams standing, the last two European cups who are title contenders. This Saturday they will battle it out in front of a limited number of fans in a game to decide the 67th champion. Everyone in the sports world is gearing up and clearing their schedules, but so are the sports betting enthusiasts. If are both a football fan as well as an avid sports gambler, make sure to check out liontips.in before this weekend’s final. Until that exciting time arrives, here are some things you need to know about the Champions League Finals of 2023.
1. Veterans and Newbies
For Manchester City, this is going to be first final in their entire existence. The club has been around for decades but they have never managed to reach the final stage. They have been very successful in the domestic years for the better part of the last decade winning multiple leagues and cup trophies, but the furthest they have ever gotten was the semifinal stage. On the other hand, Chelsea has had much more success and they currently have a 50% win rate in the finals. They have lost to the other Manchester club, United, in 2008, but have managed to win it in 2012. Chelsea has also won two UEFA Europa Leagues in 2013 and 2019.
2. Where and When?
The game is set for 21:00 CET on Saturday, 29 May, and it is going to be played at the Estadio do Dragao, the home court of the Portugal heavyweight FC Porto. The stadium was built for the 2004 UEFA EURO and apart from that it also hosted the 2019 UEFA Nations League Final. It is a beautiful and popular stadium but it was not the first choice for the decisive game. That honor belonged to Istanbul and their Ataturk Olympic Stadium. Sadly, COVID-19 restrictions prevented the organizers from actually hosting it there so UEFA decided to move it on May 13.
3. There Will Be Fans in Attendance!
Finally, fans are slowly being allowed back into the stands and the football world is more than ready for it. Final games in some of the domestic leagues across Europe already featured fans including the recently played UEFA Europa League final game. The authorities in Portugal decided that the stadium would be at 33% capacity. This comes down to 16,500 lucky spectators who will be watching the exciting all-English duel this weekend. Each club got 6,000 tickets reserved for their respective fans and they sold almost immediately. There were 1,700 more tickets available for the general public and they too sold in an instant on Tuesday, May 25.
4. Who is the Referee?
The main referee for the final game is an experienced and famous professional Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz. He is 44 years old and has been a part of some truly special games in his career. His career started in 2011 and since then has officiated six UEFA Champions League matches this season. This is his first final and the Spaniard is also among the referees who will be controlling the games at the UEFA EURO 2023 this summer. The assistant referees will Spanish, Pau Cebrián Devis, and Roberto Díaz Pérez del Palomar. In the VAR room, Alejandro José Hernández Hernández will overlook and double-check the on-court decisions, with his two Spanish and one Polish assistants Juan Martínez Munuera, Íñigo Prieto López de Cerain, and Paweł Gil. The fourth official in charge of the substitutions and stoppage time displays is Carlos del Cerro Grande.
5. Opening Ceremony
This year’s opening ceremony of the final game will be headlined by none other than the world-famous DJ, artist, and producer Marshmello. He will deliver a virtual performance to the fans and both those behind the screen and the luckier ones in attendance are in for a true spectacle. Pepsi is the main sponsor of the ceremony and this is the fifth year they have partnered with UEFA for such an occasion. Marshmello is an award-winning, platinum-certified artist who has enjoyed widespread fame and success for years. His greatest hits include Happier, Silence, and Friends, all of which have hundreds of millions of views on YouTube and millions more on other platforms.
6. What Does the Winner Get?
Well, the winner gets their name is written in history and infinite, never-ending love and gratitude from their fans, club, city, and country. Of course, they also get to house the iconic Champions League Trophy for a year, the legendary 73.5 cm and 7.5 kg silver beauty. What is more, the winner gets a secured spot in the next season’s group stage should they have failed to qualify otherwise through finish high enough in their domestic leagues. For this year’s finalists, this is not an issue as we will be watching both Man City and Chelsea next season two since the former won the Premier League this season and the latter finished fourth. In terms of money, the winner gets €19 million and the runner-up gets €15 million on top of the money they already won since the group stage. Man City is just over €60 million, already, while Chelsea is just under €60 million.