Portugal is a country where football is more than just a sport or a hobby. It is a national religion and it is highly infectious. Seriously, simply living in Portugal has managed to make a football idiot (like me!) get all excited about catching a match real-time. It has been almost a year since I’ve been in Lisbon, but yesterday was truly the quintessence of football mania! Yesterday, Lisbon hosted the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Inevitably, downtown Lisbon was transformed into a huge football carnival. There was no way you could walk along the streets and not get hyped up about the match!
Like all other competitions, the winner takes it all and above all, the much coveted trophy. As such, I was really privileged to see the UEFA Champions Trophy first-hand at Praça do Comércio before it was delivered to Estádio da Luz, where the final showdown would take place.
The following collage is a throwback to last Wednesday when Querido and I saw a replica of Estádio da Luz in a shopping mall, made using heineken bottles. Cool! For the past week, almost everything had a Champions League theme – restaurant menus, shop displays, television programmes, etc. As a build-up to the fateful match day (ie. 24 May), Querido and I also attended a football-related dinner on 23 May. I did not take any photos at the dinner event though.
Another interesting sight was people wearing “I need tickets” sign on the streets. I overheard some negotiations and it seemed like EUR2,500 was not tempting enough for an existing ticket holder to lose the opportunity to catch the match live.
Importantly, this match really exemplified why one should always adopt a never-say-die attitude and fight on right till the last minute. Imagine trailing behind with a scoreline of 0-1 with less than 3 minutes to the final whistle. However, an equalizer at the 93rd minute miraculously turned the tide and resulted in a final victory margin of 4-1 at the end of extra time! Dramatic! Sergio Ramos is the man of the match! Miracles do exist and happen!!! By the way, the 4-1 scoreline was the second biggest win in a UEFA Champions League final after AC Milan’s 4-0 victory over FC Barcelona in 1994.
A short post for today. Going to do housework now before skyping with mummy. Signing off from the land where football is integral to its existence!