Football enthusiasts in Brazil had a treat in store as the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken, visited them last weekend.
The 2013 global tour, featuring the most prized silverware in European club football, kicked off in Rio de Janeiro. Football superstars are being lined up as ambassadors to meet and greet the fans. Watch this space for more news as the tour moves on to Africa and Asia next month.
The UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour is an annual event which takes place on different continents during the UEFA Champions League knockout phase. It is a travelling heritage exhibition and a trophy display, focusing on current players, coaches and matches to promote the UEFA Champions League and its history.
UEFA has a series of objectives for the trophy tour. It is designed to bring the UEFA Champions League trophy closer to the fans and offer them a unique football experience: to share the history and heritage of the European Champion Clubs' Cup and UEFA Champions League, including the players and clubs who have graced the competition over five decades.
In addition, the event 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 motivates supporters to share UEFA values such as fair play and respect.
Heineken is a much-valued UEFA Champions League sponsor since 1994, its profile fitting perfectly with the competition. The trophy tour presented by Heineken enjoyed its first global edition in 2012 (Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, China), having also visited North America in 2012, Asia in 2011, Africa in 2009, South America in 2008 as well as Asia (Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand) in 2007.
Two internationally renowned football greats were present for the first leg at the Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro – UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour ambassador Bebeto, the former Brazil striker who lifted the 1994 FIFA World Cup and scored 39 goals in 75 appearances for his country; and Heineken ambassador Clarence Seedorf, the ex-Netherlands midfielder who won the UEFA Champions League no fewer than four times – with AFC Ajax (1995), Real Madrid CF (1998) and AC Milan (2003, 2007) – plus the UEFA Super Cup twice with Milan.
Bebeto and Seedorf were present to have their photo taken with the fans and the trophy, and to speak about their experiences at football's highest summits.
The UEFA Champions League trophy has become a global sporting icon, representing the excellence of the tournament. For the world's greatest players at club level, it also symbolises the ultimate achievement in the European game.
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