It’s exactly a year away but we’re already getting excited
Moments after Gareth Bale and his Real Madrid teammates completed their dramatic win against rivals Atletico on Saturday, the Champions League focus turned to Cardiff 2017.
Milan’s iconic San Siro provided the perfect setting for last week’s showpiece but the Millennium Stadium promises to give club football’s biggest match its best ever night in 12 months time.
But what will the Champions League final bring to Wales? Here we take a look…
1) A £40m windfall
The amount of revenue such a huge event will generate is staggering and even if a fraction of that is invested back into Welsh football, thousands of children will benefit and hopefully fall in love with the game.
2) Some of the world’s biggest stars
Whoever makes the final, young Welsh fans will be able to see some of football’s biggest names up close and that will add to the excitement already being created by Wales’ Euro 2016 qualification.
3) A raised profile for football
The night Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo came to Wales for the 2014 Euro Super Cup final football’s profile grew substantially across the nation. The buzz next year will be even bigger.
4) Thousands of tickets
With the Millennium Stadium’s capacity of 74,500, at least 6,000 tickets will go on general sale, offering a unique opportunity for football fans around Wales to be at one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions.
5) Some amazing fan parks
Even though more than 74,000 fans will enjoy the action inside the Millennium Stadium, tens of thousands more will be part of the buzz at the fan parks that will be posted around the city. Once they’ve enjoyed the entertainment on offer, they’ll love football forever.
6) A year of excitement
A year today the match will kick off but the build-up is already underway. Work is going on behind the scenes and Wales appearing at Euro 2016 will certainly get the excitement going. On Monday, June 20, the qualifying draw kicks off and five weeks later the action starts.
7) A chance to touch the trophy
Football fans in Wales will have the opportunity to see the magical trophy up close as it goes on a signing and photo tour before it arrives in Cardiff in time for the final.
8) The stars of the future
Some of the best young players in Europe will be on show in Cardiff on the road to the final as the UEFA Young Champions final is held.
Many of the fans who attend this game will come from Wales.
9) Football legends of the past
The Ultimate Champions match is a tradition that is almost as exciting as the final itself.
In Milan last week, stars like Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and Robert Pires turned out as a team of Inter and AC Milan legends took on a Rest of the World team at five-aside.
10) A chance to show off our culture
Last weekend the Italian Gospel Choir entertained the crowds at the City’s Duomo cathedral while Andrea Bocelli entertained those in the stadium. With Wales’ vast musical talent, there will no doubt be a great show on in Cardiff before next year’s final.
11) A real festival of football
Don’t think for one minute that the Champions League final is just a game of football. The match, the fan parks and all the events around it will offer a real showcase for our game to the people of Wales and show the best of Wales to the great and good of football. It will get everybody excited and will prove that football is more than a game.