In the midst of towering images of some of Spain's UEFA EURO 2008™ heroes, the 2010 UEFA Champions League final logo was launched to rapturous applause at the aptly named City of Football in Madrid on Friday.
Famous footballing figures, local dignitaries and scores of journalists gathered at the headquarters of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to witness the unveiling of the logo for this year's final, which will be held at Real Madrid CF's Santiago Bernabéu home on a Saturday, 22 May, for the first time. The design incorporates the trophy as its central element and fuses the stadium with the Puerta del Alcala – the gateway to the city – while also capturing the cultural and 'fiesta' aspects which Madrid is famed for.
Speaking at the event, UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said: "Like each season, the logo is unique to this year's event. It demonstrates a combination of what the city is famed for internationally with historical monuments." Former Real Madrid forward and event ambassador Emilio Butragueño, meanwhile, spoke of his pride at seeing his "lifelong home" in the spotlight.
"I was born in this city and Madrid have always been my team; my parents used to take me to the Santiago Bernabéu when I was a child," he said. "Football is the world sport par excellence and this is the best competition there is in club football. Along with those factors you have the Bernabéu as one of the sporting temples and a magnificent arena in which to host such a prestigious game. Personally it's a great honour to have been chosen to represent the final."
The Santiago Bernabéu has staged three previous European Champion Clubs' Cup finals – 1957, 1969 and 1980 – but this is the first time that the showpiece will be held at the famous venue in the UEFA Champions League era. Marchetti explained that moving the final from its traditional Wednesday night slot to Saturday will allow many more people to enjoy the event: "The change in the tradition was put in place by our president, Michel Platini, so that more families and more children can enjoy this great sporting event."
The general secretary of the RFEF, Jorge Pérez, echoed those thoughts as he looked ahead to the eight-day festival of football which will conclude with the most important fixture on club football's calendar. "Families can feel more comfortable this year in coming to the city to take part in the festival and enjoying the special atmosphere that will surround Madrid." He added that there was "huge enthusiasm" in the city, and hosting the final was a source of "great pride and responsibility for Spanish football".
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