Former England players Gary Lineker and Graeme Le Saux carried the UEFA Champions League Trophy into Hyde Park as the silverware prepared to reside at the UEFA Champions Festival for the final week of its month-long tour of the capital.
Freestyle footballers and jugglers kept the large crowd entertained at the entrance to the park as visitors – stood beneath two giant pillars adorned with pictures of FC Barcelona captain Carles Puyol and Manchester United FC counterpart Nemanja Vidić – waited for a London taxi to arrive carrying the trophy.
Lineker, the UEFA Champions League final ambassador, and Le Saux, his UEFA Champions Festival counterpart, then carried the silverware to the stand where fans, many of whom were sporting the colours of Saturday's finalists, quickly formed a queue to have their photograph taken with it.
South Londoners Harith Malik and his girlfiend Sufia Rashid, wearing David Villa and Pedro Rodríguez shirts respectively, were excited at the thought of getting close to a trophy they expect Puyol to lift at Wembley on Saturday. "I saw an advert for the festival when I was going past on the bus a few days ago, and have been looking forward to coming down," Malik said. "Unfortunately I'll be watching the match at home, probably with some United fans, so I hope Barcelona win."
Reza Calloo, a Red Devil from Epsom outside London, added. "You don't get an opportunity to have your taken with the European Cup every day; it's a really good idea." Holding his hand was his six-year-old son, Hamzah, who predicted a 2-0 win with Wayne Rooney starring.
The UEFA Women's Champions League Trophy is also on display until Thursday when it is taken to Craven Cottage for the final between 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and Olympique Lyonnais. Both pieces of silverware will feature in an attempt to break the world record for the most number of trophy lifts in an hour, between 13.00 and 14.00 local time on Monday.
The UEFA Champions League Trophy was handed over to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, by UEFA President Michel Platini at the Guildhall on 20 April. It has seen been on display at the following venues: Chelsea's Duke of York's Square, Old Spitalfields Market, Canary Wharf, Fulham FC, Trafalgar Square, Heathrow Terminal 5 and City Hall/More London.
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