I saw the Champions League final from the inside. It was magical
Any trip to a match for a journalist begins with an accreditation. But the Champions League final is a special procedure. You need to fill out a bunch of documents and leave detailed information about yourself, after which the UEFA spokespersons make inquiries about the existence of the media and people who want to be accredited. Anyone can both refuse and confirm the application. The answer has to wait about a month. All this time you live impatiently from waiting, and every day, convulsively, 10 times a day, you check the mail, where the answer should come from just one main word: confirmed or rejected. This is something like a childhood at school, when you are waiting for a test grade or exam and are afraid that the teacher will say loudly to the whole class that you are not satisfied.
The distribution of elephants begins one day before the match in the Kiev Palace of Sports. I am going there early in the morning and in my thoughts I want to get everything first, but I have a line of 20 people in front of me. It seems that they slept on the stairs and have been waiting here since the very evening. I take a turn for a cute girl in a T-shirt with the inscription ESPN. She came from Brazil and works on local TV. In Ukraine, it is difficult for her, since no one speaks Portuguese.
– While I found the way here, I spent almost an hour. No one could explain to me how to find this place. I came here for our three footballers. They focus on, – says a Brazilian journalist.
– Who do you think will win? – I ask her.
– In the “Real” play Kazemiro and Marcelo, and in the “Liverpool” – our Firmino. So 2: 1 in favor of Madrid.
The procedure for obtaining accreditation is reminiscent of something like a visa to the consulate or embassy. First you need to show your passport, then you are photographed and given a personal code. Further you pass into the hall, where it is necessary to wait on the monitor its surname and number of operator. It takes about 15 minutes, and I walk up to the table with number 4, where a guy from Poland in a UEFA jacket gives me a personalized belt first, and plastic clings to it, in which the holograms shine the thing I have been waiting for all spring. Name accreditation is so protected from fakes that you feel like a CIA employee. In addition to holograms and photos, it contains passport data and a personal barcode printed, which is scanned at each entrance to the stadium. Next to me at the next table, a man of about 40 years old gets his accreditation in a jacket with a large EUROSPORT sign. After receiving our accreditations, we go out together, like soulmates.
– I am from Ireland, but I have been living in London for many years and I work for the British version of the Eurosport site. My specialty is football. I love only him. But our channel often shows any type of curling shit, four-hour bike races or snooker, where one match can go all day, Oscar criticizes its employer.
I suggest the Irishman go to the Khreshchatyk fan zone and hang out there. Oscar happily agrees, especially when he finds out that there will be a football tournament for veterans and legends of the Champions League.
In the evening, the day before the match, I’m going to the “Olympic”. Because of the football tournament of legends, I don’t have time for the press conference of Jürgen Klopp, but I don’t get very upset. I immediately get to the training session of “Liverpool”. Almost the entire training session is played by the players in half the field, and the second gate is on the line of the center circle. It looks unusual because of too much density. The singer Dua Lipa appears in the stands. Albanca will perform at the opening ceremony and she was brought to see the stadium. Several journalists have time to take pictures with her, but when it comes to me, she says “Sorry” and leaves.
After an hour, Real Madrid’s training is no different from what Liverpool was doing – the same game on half the field. In the end, Karim Benzema comes up to the stands first. He talks long with some two guys, smiles, laughs. In a couple of minutes, Gareth Bale comes here. He begins to communicate with his two friends. A day later, these two players will score all Real Madrid goals in the final and bring him a trophy.