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16.04.2010 13:08

Champions League trophy in Madrid

Roger Bogunyà

FC Barcelona have loaned the UEFA Champions League trophy to the city of Madrid this Friday as the Spanish capital continues preparations for the final on May 22.

A number of stars from the world of football and politicians have gathered for the ceremony at the Palacio de Cibeles with president Joan Laporta and honorary president Johan Cruyff, in his first official engagement since taking the role, joined by Albert Perrín, Raúl Sanllehi and Txiki Begiristain representing the Blaugrana.

Real Madrid will host the final and they had president Florentino Pérez, director of external relations Emilio Butragueño and players such Raúl, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká, among others, present.

President of the Spanish Football Federation and UEFA vice president Angel María Villar was in attendance along with the mayor of Madrid Alberto Ruiz Gallardón.

Hand over

K275_209.JPGThe high point of the event came at 13:30 when Laporta and Cruyff handed over the UEFA Champions League trophy to Villar. The cup was then passed on to mayor Ruiz Gallardón who will keep it in Madrid until May 22 when the winners of this season's competition will take it home with them.

"Madrid is honoured and touched to be hosting the final and we have a deep sense of responsibility," Ruiz Gallardón. "The final will be played at the stadium of teh club that has won the trophy the most time and the capital of Spain will do its best. It will be the best final ever organised."

Pérez welcome

K275_326.JPGFlorentino Pérez then explained that he would do all he could to help Barça win the trophy if they reach the final: "It is an honour that the Santiago Bernabéu will be the capital of world football," he said. "If Barça reach the final then we will do everything that we can to make sure that they feel at home."

Trophy trip

The Champions League trophy will go on display in Madrid at the Puerta del Sol on Monday. After that it will travel to different places around Spain to allow people to have their photo taken with it before returning to the Spanish capital on May 14. It will then be kept in the Parque del Retiro until the day of the final.
Champions League trophy in Madrid

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Volcano effect
The main absentee from the ceremony was UEFA president Michel Platini as he was unable to travel due to the cloud of volcanic ash that has grounded so many flights across Europe.

Barça president Joan Laporta had no such problems as he drove through the night from Utrecht in Holland to Barcelona before flying to Madrid.

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