UEFA has announced that the 2017 Champions League final is heading to Wales.
Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, to be a little more precise.
The 74,500 capacity venue was selected by European soccer’s governing body to host the final of its showpiece club competition, as the Welsh Football Association will host the UCL final for the first time in their history.
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It will also mark the 12th time the European Cup final has been hosted in the United Kingdom, with London (7), Glasgow (3) and Manchester (1) the other host cities.
This announcement comes off the back of some strong seasons for Welsh soccer. Swansea City have remained in the Premier League since they were promoted in 2011 and were joined by South Wales rivals Cardiff City for the 2013-14 season before the Bluebirds were relegated. Cardiff’s stadium, the Cardiff City Stadium, hosted the 2014-15 UEFA Super Cup final, plus the Welsh national team has risen to 22nd in the FIFA World rankings and look to be closing in on its first qualification to a major tournament since 1958 after beating the second-best team in the world, Belgium, in their last Euro 2016 qualifying match.
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With Gareth Bale’s Real Madrid perennial challengers for the UCL trophy, the Cardiff-born forward will get the chance to return to his hometown and lift the greatest prize European soccer has to offer. Does the Welsh international need any more incentive to lead Real to European glory once again?
And of course, the Millennium Stadium is no stranger to big occasions as it is the home to Wales’ national rugby team, as well as hosting the FA Cup final, League Cup final and Community Shield finals from 2001 to 2006 when Wembley was reconstructed and it has been home to several of Wales’ bigger international matches for soccer.
Set down by the banks of the River Taff and right in the heart of the center of Cardiff, this stadium is sure to be a hit with fans across Europe as the Champions League final has finally been awarded to Wales.
As the Welsh say: Hen bryd.