In theory his is a lonely, isolated role – a man who hopes to do his job so well that he is barely noticed, a support actor primed to work so that the stars can shine.
However Pedro Proença, the Portuguese referee for the 2012 UEFA Champions League final, is proof the concept of teamwork extends well beyond the two finalists, FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC, to the Iberian officials who will take charge on the big night.
In fact when Proença discovered that his season was being rewarded with this blue-riband match, it was not family or friends with whom he first shared his delight but his fellow officials. He told UEFA.com: "The guys in my referee team are, in the end, the pillars which have made this possible. So obviously it was with them that I first shared this great happiness.
"Now we are working so that we can have a good game and participate in this magnificent spectacle. Of course, to be able to develop your work with the same team makes it possible to create routines and do things automatically. In the matches that then ends up making our work easier.
"Being a referee here is the realisation of a dream. It's nice to know that a big association like UEFA has recognised that through this long season we have done a good job. You feel great happiness."
The 41-year-old from Pinhal Novo will be taking charge of his 16th UEFA Champions League match when he strides out at the Fußball Arena München. He has been on the rise in refereeing circles since taking charge of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final in 2004 and was promoted to UEFA's Elite category at the start of 2009/10.
Bayern and Chelsea will be in the hands of a man who has a well-established preparation for such occasions and who also holds a clear vision of how he would like the high-profile final to unravel. "My routine is always the same," Proença confirmed. "Obviously there's a warm-up first, then mental preparation, and then getting ready for the match itself.
"We have done meticulously accurate preparation because we had the luck and privilege to know well beforehand which teams would be here. We've prepared all the scenarios, so we won't be taken by surprise in any situation. It is the key to success.
"Fundamentally I hope this will be a spectacle and that people will leave this majestic stadium very satisfied with what happened. So my last words will be about a great effort from the athletes, respect for all the people who have worked for this final, and that the spectators will be the most satisfied and happy people they can be."
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