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Gallery, museum openings begin Lisbon 'festivities'

The opening in Lisbon on Tuesday of the UEFA Champions Gallery and UEFA Champions Museum heralded the start of "three weeks of football festivities" in Portugal's capital.

The UEFA Champions Gallery and UEFA Champions Museum opened on Tuesday in Lisbon, marking the beginning of a three-week festival of football in the Portuguese capital.

The ceremony was conducted by Pedro Pinto, a journalist from Portuguese broadcaster TVI, and attended by Federação Portuguesa de Futebol (FPF) president and UEFA Executive Committee member Fernando Gomes, and Lisbon city councillor Jorge Máximo, representing mayor António Costa.

The exhibitions − located at Paços do Concelho in Lisbon City Hall and Sala do Risco in Páteo da Galé, close to where the UEFA Champions Festival takes place − will be open from 10.00–20.30 local time until Sunday 25 May.

FPF president Fernando Gomes said: "It's an honour to have the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Women's Champions League finals in Lisbon in the year of the FPF's centenary. With the opening of these spaces we begin three weeks of football festivities in Lisbon.

"The photo gallery and the exhibits represent the highlights of what has occurred in the Champions League. They show the huge success of the Champions League, which is a very prestigious competition. They are memorable moments from almost 60 years that every football fan should see."

Jorge Máximo added: "It's with great enthusiasm that today we begin a series of initiatives that will be a focal point for all European football lovers. We have a final with two teams from Madrid, which will be exciting because we will receive many guests from our neighbours Spain. It is a great honour for us.

"Lisbon will be at the centre of world football, not just because of the Champions League but also because of Benfica, who will represent the city of Lisbon in the UEFA Europa League final. So welcome and enjoy Lisbon, which is going to be the city of football in May."

The UEFA Champions Gallery showcases more than 150 iconic photos from the competition. Among them are a host of images of Portuguese winners of Europe's premier club tournament, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Figo, José Mourinho and Eusébio and Mário Coluna, who are pictured playing cards together on the eve of SL Benfica's 1961/62 semi-final second leg in London against Tottenham Hotspur FC.

There are also two snapshots of Celtic FC captain Billy McNeill taken after the Hoops' triumph over FC Internazionale Milano in the 1967 showpiece, the first to be held in Lisbon. Pinto said that to mark the return of the final to the city, many of the Glasgow club's 'Lisbon Lions' will be in attendance when Real Madrid CF play Club Atlético de Madrid at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on 24 May.

Across the street at Páteo da Galé, the UEFA Champions Museum houses match programmes from every previous final, a UEFA Women's Champions League wall and devotes space to memorabilia connected with the best goals – such as the ball Zinedine Zidane majestically volleyed into the Hampden Park net in 2002 – finals and players.

Among the centrepieces are the right boot and shirt Lionel Messi wore during the 2009 final, when he scored in FC Barcelona's 2-0 victory against Manchester United FC in Rome; Eusébio's jersey from the 1963 decider won by AC Milan; and the gloves used by FC Porto's Vítor Baía in the Dragons' 2004 Gelsenkirchen success against AS Monaco FC.

The dramatic 1999 final, in which United struck twice in added time to defeat FC Bayern München 2-1, is celebrated with the displaying of a match ball signed by the goalscorers that night at the Camp Nou: Mario Basler, Terry Sheringham and Ole Gunner Solskjær.

Ronaldinho's kit from the 2006 final and yellow and red cards signed by Pierluigi Collina are two other main attractions. The exhibit ends with the road to Lisbon, a corridor lined with the shirts of this season's 32 participating sides.

The UEFA Champions Gallery and UEFA Champions Museum are open from 6 to 25 May between the hours of 10.00 and 20.30. The exhibitions are located at Gallery Edifício dos Paços do Concelho, Praça do Município, Museum Rua do Arsenal, 21.

The Champions Festival opens its gates at Praça do Comércio to the public on 22 May. It is open between 11.00 and 23.00 on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 11.00 and 17.00 on the Sunday. Plan your visit.

All times local.