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Stars come out at the UEFA Champions Festival

Published: Friday 18 May 2012, 20.13CET
There was plenty of footballing royalty at the UEFA Champions Festival on Friday as the likes of Luís Figo and Steve McManaman mingled with fans at the Olympiapark in Munich.
by Kevin Ashby
from Olympiapark, Munich

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Published: Friday 18 May 2012, 20.13CET

Stars come out at the UEFA Champions Festival

There was plenty of footballing royalty at the UEFA Champions Festival on Friday as the likes of Luís Figo and Steve McManaman mingled with fans at the Olympiapark in Munich.

Following the success of the UEFA Women's Champions League final on Thursday, futsal took centre stage on the third and penultimate day of the UEFA Champions Festival in Munich.

It's the biggest club football match you will have
Steve McManaman
The festival helps to build the atmosphere ahead of the Champions League final. It's a chance to spend some time with the family and take part in different activities before the big day. It's really enjoyable
Luís Figo

SL Benfica and Portugal player Ricardinho, one of the game's foremost talents, was in the Olympiapark to host skills clinics with aspiring young players. "It is very nice to be here and to be able to represent futsal," he said. "To play here with the future stars makes me very proud. I hope they learn a lot from this, because they are the future of football and futsal."

From the stars of the future to a constellation of great names from the past. Cafu, Patrik Andersson, Jay-Jay Okocha and Celestine Babayaro also thrilled fans in an ambassadors' skills clinic, before presenting awards to the winners of the UEFA Young Champions competition – a tournament for 10 to 16-year-olds that was played throughout the day at the Olympiastadion.

Steve McManaman and Christian Karembeu were also involved, having previously dropped in to answer UEFA.com users' Twitter questions in a session at the UEFA booth. Both recalled their memories of winning the UEFA Champions League as Real Madrid CF players.

Karembeu said it was "just magical, for me it was my first really big title", while McManaman added: "It's the biggest club football match you will have – playing for Liverpool, with a history in European competition, then Madrid with the Champions League. We've lost finals in the past so when you do win a final as big as the Champions League, it's an unforgettable moment in time."

In the evening, former Chelsea FC defender Graeme Le Saux joined users from around the world in the third UEFA.com Google+ hangout. "Munich is a great city, the Fußball Arena München is a beautiful, iconic stadium and I'd love to be playing there tomorrow," he said.

Le Saux then headed to the heart of the UEFA Champions Festival to sign autographs for the throng of Blues supporters at their finalists' wall, while former goalkeeper Raimond Aumann did likewise at FC Bayern München's in his role as the club's ambassador.

Jens Lehmann, who suffered final disappointment with Arsenal FC in 2006, and Luís Figo, a winner with McManaman in 2002, were also around signing autographs, entertaining fans and speaking to UEFA.com. The Portuguese said: "The festival helps to build the atmosphere ahead of the Champions League final. It's a chance to spend some time with the family and take part in different activities before the big day. It's really enjoyable."

Lehmann added: "I have seen a lot of supporters here at the festival, some are singing songs outside and it's a great way to build up to the big final. You can already see that the atmosphere inside the stadium will be fantastic."

As well as some footballing royalty, there was a bona fide pop star in attendance as Aloe Blacc – the platinum-selling artist of 'I need a dollar' fame – said he was loving the buzz of Munich before taking to the stage to do a set which would bring the day to a close.

Last updated: 05/12/13 5.08CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1798970.html#stars+come+uefa+champions+festival

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