Special envoy to Paris
At the same time that since Wednesday afternoon tens of thousands of Parisians took the road to the south and east of the country, looking for their second homes on the Atlantic coast or eventual tourist destinations, 30,000 fans from Real Madrid, 60,000 from Liverpool and a good number of the rest of the French have been arriving in the French capital. We are in the middle of ‘Pont de L’Ascension’ in the Gallic country, and that is synonymous with a mass movement outside the Champions League final.
“This bridge is usually very enjoyed in this country. Symbolically it kicks off summer and there is a lot of movement. Parisians often take advantage of it to take family trips and flee the city for a few days.
In this case, with more reason, not to coincide with the mess that is being mounted with the Champions League final, ”the taxi driver who takes us to the stadium tells ABC.
The urban area of Paris alone has nearly three million inhabitants (12 in total if we count the outskirts of the French capital) and in many cases their interest in Liverpool-Real Madrid tonight is residual. In a world where, at last, after more than two years, pre-pandemic lifestyles have been recovered, Paris is Paris again. A city brimming with national and international tourism, where you can enjoy 24 hours a day, both with friends, with children, and as a couple. That yes, with prices through the roof, those that occupy many hours of the year in Paris, although fame takes London. According to a study by Mabrian, a company specialized in tourist intelligence, hotel prices during this Champions League final weekend are eleven times more expensive than before the coronavirus. A three-star hotel has gone from an average cost of 155 euros to 1,757. One of four, from 232 to 1979. Quantities that have not put back the almost 100,000 fans who gather in Paris this Saturday, May 28, to enjoy the 67th European Cup final.
It will be the seventeenth final for Madrid and the tenth for Liverpool. Absolute king of the competition (13) against the third club that has the most orejonas (6). Third final between both, after the one of 1981 in the Princes Park, with an English victory, and that of 2018 in kyiv, with a white victory. Tables that will be tied today: “We have to propose a game where we show what we have done all season: collective commitment, individual quality, players who come off the bench and show their faces and make a difference… That is the game I hope for” Ancelotti explained yesterday in the press room at the Stade de France. “You can’t buy Madrid’s experience, but it’s our third final in five years and we’re also a top-level team. Seeing their history and this experience, I would say that they are favorites. We could make a book of Madrid’s comebacks in this Champions League, but if we play at our best we are a difficult team to win,” Klopp reflected.
The volcanic German coach has been the one who has thrown the most water at the final. A part of his dressing room, with Salah in charge, has not stopped mentioning the final four years ago. A feeling of revenge that does not share Klopp and that he wants to move away from the focus to put positive memories in its place: «In 2018 we reached that final with only three wheels. We didn’t have a full bench, important players were coming back from injuries, we suffered Salah’s injury, Karius’ concussion, who shouldn’t have played more… Then we won Champions in 2019, but the problem is that Madrid never lose a final. Someone once told me that the more times you win, the closer you are to defeat. We’ll see if that’s the case.”
Benzema-Van Dijk, Modric-Thiago, Fabinho-Casemiro, Salah-Mendy, Luis Diaz-Carvajal, Vinicius-Alexander Arnold. In such an even final, the heads-up are expected to be more decisive than ever: «Vinicius is a great player and he will be a threat. It is a luxury to see him play », explains the prodigious English full-back about his dance partner at the Stade de France.
Marcelo and Courtois appeared for Madrid, an anomaly in the usual routine of a Champions League final in which Madrid always put their first two captains in front of the media together with the coach. It wasn’t like that yesterday. Benzema, who already spoke in Paris on February 14 in the preview of the first leg of the round of 16 against PSG, preferred not to do it again out of superstition. On that occasion the team was defeated after Mbappé’s goal in minute 92 (1-0). The Frenchman, with 15 goals, is only two away from Cristiano’s 17 in 2014, the tournament’s absolute record. There, Atlético de Courtois lost the Champions League. On this occasion, he expects a different outcome: «If you face Madrid you know that when they play the final they win it. Now I’m on the good side of history.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism