By Samindra Kunti in Madrid
May 30 – After a protracted three-week build up, Liverpool and Tottenham will provide the grand finale of the European club season on Saturday in the Spanish capital with an army of British fans invading the city ahead of the Champions League final.
Spanish authorities have mounted a large security operation as Madrid prepares for a huge influx of Liverpool and Tottenham supporters. It is estimated that more than 70,000 fans will make their way to the Spanish capital for the showpiece match, the second all-English European Cup final in the space of three days. On Wednesday Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 4-1 in Baku to win the Europa League.
The city will deploy 4,700 officers and a drone, a first in Spain, to monitor crowd movements and guarantee security around the final. There will be around 4,200 members of the country’s National Police while other security personnel will be made up of the Civil Guard and Madrid city police. The sale of alcohol will also be limited in the designated fan zones.
The two finalists received 16,000 tickets each for the final the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, the home ground of Atletico Madrid, but many more traveling fans are expected. Six months ago, Madrid also hosted the Copa Libertadores final, compelling authorities to transform the Bernabeu Stadium and surrounding area into a fortress to ensure tensions between River Plater and Boca Junior fans wouldn’t spill over again. The security operation around the Champions League has taken on similar proportions, but the visible police presence has been scaled back.
Liverpool go into the final as firm favourites. On 97 points they fell short in the Premier League by a point, losing the title to Manchester City on the final day of the season after a 2-0 win against Wolves. Liverpool will also want to banish memories from last season’s Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid in Kiev. Tottenham will be competing as underdogs in their first-ever European Cup final, but will be boosted by the return of their talisman Harry Kane.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1573947374labto1573947374ofdlr1573947374owedi1573947374sni@o1573947374fni1573947374