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Champions Festival leaves lasting impression

Published: Saturday 19 May 2012, 20.36CET
The first public screening of a UEFA Champions League final provided the perfect end to four fun-filled days at Munich's Olympiapark as the UEFA Champions Festival closed its doors.
by Kevin Ashby
from Olympiapark

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Published: Saturday 19 May 2012, 20.36CET

Champions Festival leaves lasting impression

The first public screening of a UEFA Champions League final provided the perfect end to four fun-filled days at Munich's Olympiapark as the UEFA Champions Festival closed its doors.

The UEFA Champions Festival welcomed star names, from the world of football and not, and fans of all ages to Munich's Olympiapark over four action-packed days before it concluded with the first public screening of a UEFA Champions League final.

Each day of the festival had a different theme – from grassroots on Wednesday through women's, futsal and, finally, Respect on Saturday – with activities to reflect them. In addition there were the established popular offerings from UEFA Champions League sponsors, including the opportunity for fans to have their picture taken with the famous trophy and its female equivalent.

The latter silverware was won by Olympique Lyonnais for the second successive year on Thursday, their 2-0 final victory against 1. FFC Frankfurt drawing a UEFA-record 50,212 supporters to the Olympiastadion. The historic arena opened its doors again on Saturday and fans flocked back in numbers to watch the World All-Stars defeat the FC Bayern All-Stars & Friends 3-2 thanks to Frank de Boer's winner. The match was streamed live for the first time on UEFA.com and YouTube, and attracted around 320,000 viewers.

UEFA President Michel Platini said: "I am very proud of this week of football, which is a true celebration of the fans' passion and culminates with one of the biggest sporting events. We aim to bring football to all here in Munich and with the festival, the two finals and the grassroots activities, we have turned this city into a true European football capital."

Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, got the legends' game under way before the likes of Cafu, Zico, Patrick Vieira and Paul Breitner rolled back the years. "This is what makes football beautiful," said Samuel Eto'o. "The older players here inspired us to play football ... today we are playing with them. Frankly, it is pleasure to be here with all these great figures of our [football] family."

A number of their team-mates lent their talent to earlier skills clinics with awestuck youngsters. "It's great fun training the young lads and girls and it's all good fun for everyone," said Giovane Elber, who also answered UEFA.com users' questions in interview sessions along with Willy Sagnol, Steve McManaman and Christian Karembeu. Meanwhile, Steffi Jones, Celestine Babayaro, Graeme Le Saux and Bolt all dropped in for Google+ hangout sessions with fans from around the world.

Fans of Chelsea FC and FC Bayern München filled the festival on Saturday ahead of the main event at the Fußball Arena München or to attend the public viewing on a giant screen at the Olympiastadion, which was a 60,000 sell-out. A fitting end to four fantastic days.

Last updated: 05/12/13 5.07CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1799208.html#champions+festival+leaves+lasting+impression

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