"I think it will be a fantastic night," 2013 UEFA Europa League final ambassador Patrick Kluivert told UEFA.com as he looked forward to the big match at the Amsterdam ArenA on 15 May.
Speaking at the official launch of the ticket sales process, the 36-year-old former Netherlands, AFC Ajax and FC Barcelona striker was delighted to see the final coming to his home city. "I think it will have a very big impact," he said. "In 1998, we had the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Juventus – that was a big success – and the UEFA Europa League is certainly no less important. In August, we saw the winners of the Europa League, Atlético Madrid play against Chelsea, the winners of the Champions League, and they beat them 4-1 [in the UEFA Super Cup]."
Kluivert felt proud of the event design which was also unveiled in Amsterdam on Friday. "I think it looks very fresh, very beautiful," he said. "I think that it shines. It will be a fantastic night, and I will do everything [as ambassador] to make it that way."
Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) president Michael van Praag was thrilled that his country was once more the focus of footballing attention. "It has been a while since [a major final] took place in Amsterdam," he told UEFA.com, adding: "We hope to show that our country – because we are a small country with 16 million inhabitants and a very good youth academy system lauded all over the world – apart from our good football we also have beautiful stadiums, and that we can organise things well."
Eric van der Burg, deputy mayor of Amsterdam, was excited about welcoming guests from across the globe next spring. "Amsterdam is a city of sports, a city of football," he said. "Amsterdam is also an international city and we like to show people how beautiful it is here. A final like this is shown all over the world, and the world will not only be enjoying a very nice match, but the world will also see that Amsterdam really is a place to visit."
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.