In a little over a week the world will be treated to one of the truly great sporting events in the world for UEFA Champions League Final a fantastic warm up for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil beginning next month on June 12th. UEFA of course stands for Union of European Football Association which is the European confederation that regulates all soccer leagues, games, tournaments and regulations played in the continent of Europe like the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga among others. Since 1992 they have oversaw the annual UEFA Champions League which replaced the European Cup as the foremost soccer tournament in the world.
The Champions League is different from anything we have in America as it takes all the champions from each European soccer league as well as qualifying teams who finished between 2nd through 4th place in their leagues and pits them against each other. In total 32 teams qualify for the tournament and through a double round robin group stage where the top two teams advance to the knockout phase of the tournament until two teams are left.
This year the UEFA Champions League final will feature two teams from not only the same league, La Liga, but also the same city - Madrid, as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have made it through the grueling tournament which began last summer. These two storied teams battle it out for the chance to be crowned the best of the best in Europe when they meet next weekend on May 24th at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal.
While these two teams have met an impressive 264 times in their fable history with Real leading 143 - 57 - 64 (W-D-L) when they meet next week it will be the first time they have met in the Champions League Final. Real has won the Champions League nine times, most recently in 2002 while Atletico Madrid has only appeared in one Final, losing to Bayern Munich in 1974.
In the game Real Madrid will look to their forward and Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, given annually to the best player in the world. Ronaldo is coming off of missing some recent games due to what he called “muscle fatigue” but you can bet there will be no way he is not on the pitch when they begin play for this monumental game. UEFA Champions League Final tickets are averaging some of the highest prices of any sports event in the world and thats including the Super Bowl, as an average ticket for the Champions League Final will run fans $3,362.92 for a seat, just $13 less than this past years Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. Prices have remained relatively constant only moving by 3% in the past week but fans can still get-in to this game for less than half the cost of the average ticket price at $1,294.