Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Lisbon for the Champions League final
Champions League final 2014 - Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid: How Portugal, home of Cristiano Ronaldo, is playing a big part in the all-Spanish final On the approach to Benfica’s impressive Estádio da Luz you cannot fail to be in awe of the Portuguese champions’ fitting tribute to one of football’s greatest players. One of their own, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, or Eusébio as the world knows him, scored over 600 goals in a scintillating 15 year spell for the Eagles. The love and adoration the Portuguese people show
towards their greatest sporting son is mirrored in the encased statue sitting yards from the scene of Saturday night’s showpiece event for club football.
The Champions League final will be a celebration of Spanish football and a celebration of the Spanish capital thanks to Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid ensuring the first derby match on European football’s biggest stage. Its location will ensure the
host nation will play a bigger part than usual, too, making it an all-Iberian affair when the world tunes in at 7.45pm.
The Black Panther, as Eusabio was affectionately known, will be central to it. The former Portugal international died in January aged 71 after suffering a heart attack and his legend will be
present in abundance around the Estádio da Luz and around the Portuguese capital this weekend. His statue, captured celebrating a goal and surrounded by scarves and tributes, will undoubtedly be a calling point for the majority of the 65,000 in attendance.
His legend will not only be limited to the stands, either. The 22 players that take to the perfectly-cut pitch will remember Eusabio and some are likely to partly dedicate their possible success to their former hero, not least Cristiano Ronaldo, a
player who returns to his home country and returns to a city that helped carve him into the player he is today.