Ole Gunnar Solskjær called it "absolutely stunning" while former Wales defender Kevin Ratcliffe spoke of Cardiff City Stadium's "incredible atmosphere" as the venue prepares to stage the 2014 UEFA Super Cup.
Delegates gathered in the Welsh capital today to celebrate the fact the 39th UEFA Super Cup will take place in Wales on 12 August, with the traditional curtain-raiser for the European season bringing together the sides that have won the previous campaign's UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. The home of Cardiff City FC can hold 27,000, with the capacity set to increase to 33,000 for the big game, and fans can expect a terrific backdrop to the match.
Cardiff City FC manager Solskjær started for Manchester United FC in their 1-0 loss to SS Lazio in the 1999 UEFA Super Cup, and the former Norway striker knows what awaits the teams in the 2014 fixture. "It's an absolutely stunning stadium," he said. "It's a game the players will remember for the passion."
Ratcliffe, who captained Everton FC to European Cup Winners' Cup glory in 1985 as well as two English titles, agreed. "For a new ground it generates an incredible atmosphere," the 53-year-old remarked. "It's fitting that the city has attracted this game. The city itself has come a long way since I played for Cardiff City in the early 1990s."
There is an enormous amount of excitement about the coming showpiece occasion – the second UEFA Super Cup to be played away from its long-term base in Monaco, following last year's edition at Prague's Eden Stadium, where FC Bayern München beat Chelsea FC on penalties.
"We are delighted Cardiff will be hosting this year's UEFA Super Cup," explained Football Association of Wales (FAW) chief executive Jonathan Ford. "Cardiff has hosted several high-profile sporting events. This, however, is a first. This will be the first match staged on behalf of UEFA in the Welsh capital. We are sure it will not be the last."
"Cardiff is looking forward to ensuring a warm Welsh welcome," added councillor Heather Joyce, leader of Cardiff Council. "The UEFA Super Cup will once again provide Cardiff with the opportunity to demonstrate its reputation for hosting major sporting events." The Welsh government's minister for culture and sport John Griffiths agreed: "The UEFA Super Cup coming to Cardiff and Wales is another fantastic opportunity to showcase the capital city and our country."
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