This came just too late to be included in my Monthly Musings post for April, but I feel this is big enough news to warrant a separate update.
So remember how back when I was listing my Six Football Dreams for 2019 in January I said that the lottery for Champions League Final tickets would be opening in March and I would definitely be applying. After all, how many times in my lifetime will I find myself living in a city hosting a European final?
So I applied, more in hope than expectation, and waited knowing that I would know my fate by 5th April.
As things turned out, I found out a bit earlier than that. On Tuesday 2nd April, while standing at the bus stop at Conde de Casal, waiting to go to work, I just decided to check my junk e-mail folder and there it was, an e-mail from UEFA containing some of the greatest words in the English language…
Dear Football Fan….
We are pleased to inform you that as a result of the random draw process, your application for the UEFA Champions League™ Final Madrid 2019 has been successful.
Needless to say I went in to teach that afternoon with a massive smile on my face!
Almost immediately my thoughts turned to which teams would be playing in the final. As Man Utd are my English team, the old romantic in me is dreaming of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer masterminding a repeat of “That Night In Barcelona” twenty years on. But given that they’ve been drawn against Barcelona in the quarter finals and the quite ridiculous form that Lionel Messi is in at the minute, the realist in me admits that’s somewhat unlikely.
From a football perspective, I think the best final would be Barça v Juventus. It has the perfect combination of two huge clubs who have dominated their domestic leagues for years but whose European Cup tally is well below what they feel they deserve, recent European history between the two (Barcelona’s win in the 2015 Final, Juve’s crushing quarter final win two years later) and of course the chance of seeing Messi face off against Ronaldo in the final for the first time in ten years.
To be honest, I’d even take Ajax v Porto just for the outsider factor (and also for the fact I could easily wear a Coleraine shirt and blend in with the Porto fans) and you know, it’s the Champions League Final, it’s going to be a brilliant occasion regardless of who is playing.
Just not Man City v Liverpool. Please!