Famous names Christian Karembeu and Marcel Desailly were reacquainted with the trophy they won during their distinguished playing days when the 2013 UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken, came to Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Following the spring event's opening leg in Rio, a glittering second stage of the tour saw the two ambassadors recall their joy at lifting the silverware that the world's top players want to win. Karembeu won the UEFA Champions League twice with Real Madrid CF, in 1998 and 2000, while Desailly triumphed with AC Milan in 1994.
The atmosphere in Kinshasa was already buzzing ahead of the trophy tour kick-off, with two well-attended public screenings of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first legs in the city on each matchnight. The following day, 4 April, the trophy arrived at Sicotra beach on the banks of the river Congo, being greeted by traditional Congolese warrior dancers, who welcomed this special delivery onto Congolese soil for the first time and carried it to a pavilion for a public unveiling.
Following the arrival ceremony, the trophy was taken on a tour of Kinshasa where people could see it at close hand before the associated activities commenced. Ambassadors Desailly and Karembeu were the focal point of a media event in which they answered questions, looked back on their careers and explained the special magic of the UEFA Champions League.
The consumer event, meanwhile, brought the UEFA Champions League's many fans in DR Congo close to the trophy and the ambassadors alike. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the trophy room and look at interactive displays – including displays featuring augmented reality – as well as memorabilia from classic football matches. Fans queued to have photos taken with the trophy and the ambassadors, and to savour an altogether special football moment.
The UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour is an annual event held on different continents during the competition's knockout phase. It is a travelling heritage exhibition and trophy display – focusing on current players, coaches and matches to promote the tournament and its history.
UEFA has a series of objectives for the tour: to bring the UEFA Champions League trophy closer to the supporters and offer them a unique footballing experience; and to share the story of the European Champion Clubs' Cup and UEFA Champions League, including the footballers and clubs who have graced the competition over five decades.
The event also encourages people to play football. Fans are key stakeholders in the game, and the tour aims to deepen relations with them in areas of the world where there is huge interest in the sport. Furthermore, it propagates UEFA values such as fair play and respect.
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