Miodrag Belodedici has welcomed the staging of the UEFA Europa League final in Bucharest for the first time as a boost for the city, saying the 9 May showpiece "will be well received".
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Excitement is building in Bucharest where UEFA Europa League final ambassador Miodrag Belodedici has expressed pride in the new 55,200-seat National Arena, erected on the site where he lifted six Romanian league championships as an elegant sweeper and which opened in September for a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier between Romania and France.
European finals are nothing new to Belodedici, who became the first player to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup with two different teams when his FK Crvena zvezda side overcame Olympique de Marseille in 1991. Yet for the city of Bucharest, hosting the UEFA Europa League final will be an unprecedented event, and the 53-cap former Romania defender is particularly proud to see the European focus return to his homeland for the first time in 25 years.
"The people of Bucharest and Romania are looking forward to watching a Europa League final in Bucharest," Belodedici told UEFA.com. "It is something very important, especially as this year they have finished a very nice stadium, a five-star arena. It is a very beautiful stadium, very elegant, and something we have not had in Romania before, so this UEFA Europa League final is very welcome – it will be well received."