The Invasion of Madrid! 100,000 English football fans descend on Spanish capital for the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool, ready to soak up the sun and drink the city dry
- Around 100,000 football supporters are set to arrive in Madrid for Saturday night’s Champions League final
- Revellers are pouring into the Spanish capital in their droves for what promises to be a memorable weekend
- Liverpool and Tottenham will go head-to-head in the first all-English final in the tournament for 11 years
- Fans are lining Madrid’s bars and restaurants and it appears Liverpool are outnumbering their London rivals
- Supporters will be soaking up the sun too, with temperatures set to hit a lofty 32 degrees celsius in Madrid
- Thousands of fans still don’t have tickets for the game and are frantically searching for one across the city
- An estimated 4,700 police officers are on duty while drones are being employed to keep an eye on the fans
With just over 24 hours to go until the Champions League final gets underway, tens of thousands of football fans have descended onto Madrid as they get ready to soak up the sun and drink the Spanish capital dry ahead of the biggest game of the season.
The influx has already started with a carnival atmosphere building nicely as the revellers pour into the country and settle in for what promises to be a memorable weekend.
Liverpool fans march in downtown Madrid on Friday afternoon as the countdown to the Champions League final continued
Two Liverpool fans enjoying their time in Madrid ahead of their side’s clash against Tottenham on Saturday evening
Liverpool supporters hold a banner of defender Virgil van Dijk in the streets of Madrid on Friday afternoon
A police officer stands guard one of the access areas at the Plaza Mayor in downtown Madrid as fans walk past
A Liverpool fan and Tottenham supporter enjoy a drink together in sunny Spain ahead of European showpiece on Saturday
Liverpool fans chant in the streets of Madrid as one fan beats his chest as they gear up for their side’s Champions League final
Former Brazil stars Roberto Carlos (C) and Cafu (R) pose for a selfie as they take part in an exhibition game at the Plaza Mayor
Supporters soak up the atmosphere in the streets of Madrid on Friday ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham’s encounter
Liverpool and Tottenhams fans are seen in the Spanish capital taking pictures of a huge version of Champions League trophy
Tottenham Hotspur fans pose for a photo near the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid on the eve of the European clash
Temperatures are hovering just over the 31 degree mark this weekend and those who have arrived are embracing the holiday feel in the hundreds of bars and restaurants across the city.
Masks of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, half-and-half scarfs and specially made banners could all be seen among the Spurs and Liverpool supporters setting up camp in Plaza Mayor, one of the city’s main tourist attractions.
Footage circulating on social media shows both sets of fans reeling off chants and songs on the terraces of bars as they make the most of the sun and sangria on offer.
Around 100,000 Liverpool and Tottenham fans are arriving in Madrid for Saturday night’s huge Champions League final
Liverpool fans were already out in force on Friday afternoon as they took over the Plaza de Felipe II in Madrid
With temperatures soaring to above 30 degrees, fans were seen lapping up the sunshine in the city’s restaurants and bars
Liverpool and Tottenham fans have started to arrive in their droves in Madrid – here one is wearing a Jurgen Klopp mask
Two Liverpool fans show their colours with club-branded shirts as they walk down one of the many streets lined with fans
There was no holding back some supporters as two Liverpool fans lapped up the sunshine with a beer in the heart of Madrid
Two Spurs fans pose with the trophy that they hope will be lifted aloft by Mauricio Pochettino’s side after the game is finished
A group of supporters get together for a picture in front of the stunning stadium in Madrid that was only opened in 2017
A US Navy fighter pilot holds aloft a Liverpool scarf ahead of the final, with the excitement not only confined to Madrid
A series of concerts featuring some of Spain’s leading DJs and singers have helped to keep fans occupied but the majority decided to make the most of the city’s atmospheric bars which were doing a roaring trade, helped partly by Spain’s reasonably priced alcohol.
Most fans there don’t even have tickets for the game. Entry is proving to be so elusive that one Tottenham fan admitted he is willing to part with £10,000 to watch the action unfold.
The teams have only been given a combined allocation of 32,000, despite the stadium’s 68,000 capacity, so it is no wonder Spanish authorities say the majority of fans are arriving ticketless.
Desperate fans are strolling around the city centre, sipping beer and asking passers-by for that golden ticket while others wore t-shirts or held placards declaring: ‘I need a ticket.’
Tottenham fans soak up the sun and chant along as one local entertains with his accordion in the middle of the square
Tottenham supporters chant as a crowd gathers outside the Restaurante Liana 1962 in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor
Tickets are proving to be extremely elusive and Samy Darwish is hoping his custom t-shirt can help find him entry somewhere
Mr Darwish, a dentist, flies from Dubai to Liverpool for every match at Anfield but still missed out on a ticket for the game
Both teams have an allocation of just 16,000 tickets at the Wanda Metropolitano but demand is definitely tenfold that figure
A series of concerts featuring some of Spain’s leading DJs and singers have helped to keep fans occupied during the build-up
Footage is circulating on social media of both sets of fans chanting and singing their famous songs in the bars and restaurants
Hundreds of supporters were filmed getting into the party atmosphere as the countdown to kick-off continues to edge closer
Spurs and Liverpool supporters have set up camp in the picturesque Plaza Mayor, one of the city’s main tourist attractions
Touts huddled on street corners are offering tickets for eye-watering amounts, with some asking for up to £10,000.
Tottenham fan John Burt from Bagshot, Surrey revealed that he had set himself a budget of £7,000 to buy a blackmarket ticket but would be willing to go higher if the opportunity to purchase one arose.
He admitted: ‘If somebody offers me a genuine ticket, I might even pay £10,000. I’ve been watching Spurs for 40 years and I never dreamed that we would be in a Champions League final. This is a once in a life time opportunity.’
Fans must be wary of fake tickets that have made their way into circulation though. Police have already arrested three people for trying to sell 21 false tickets on them. They were found with 3,180 euros (£2,803) in cash and five envelopes with the letterhead of the Champions League.
With direct flights to Madrid costing in excess of £1,000 and virtually every hotel room in the city sold out, fans have had to be creative with their travel and accommodation. It will come as a kick in the teeth to some but airlines were offering flights to Madrid for £98 on Friday morning, which would have made the trip far more affordable if fans had held their nerve.
Many drove from England or flew in to other Spanish cities and even neighbouring countries, making their way to Madrid by bus, car or train. Some fans had also erected tents in one of the city’s major parks while others were willing to bed down for the night on the pavement.
A group of eight Liverpool fans from California and Australia had spent a combined total of around £40,000 on travel.
‘My airfare for a 25 hour flight from Melbourne was around £2,000, and then there’s that again on a match ticket, and much more still for somewhere to stay,’ said stockbroker Marlon Mindel, 53.
Tottenham fan Gary Tennent, 57, didn’t have as far to travel with son David, 19, daughter Emma, 25, and her boyfriend Lee Deller 23.
‘We’re all huge Tottenham fans, and were determined to be here whatever happened,’ he said.
‘We’ve kept costs pretty low, but others are paying a fortune. We booked everything before Spurs had even reached the final, which meant it was still relatively cheap.
‘I missed the club’s glory days in the early 1960s because I was just a nipper, so this is going to be the biggest game of all our lives.’
While most are relaxing in the Madrid sun, hundreds of Spurs fans still face a battle to make kick-off after Thomas Cook revealed one of their chartered flights will not land in Madrid until 4:30pm on Saturday – less than five hours before kick-off.
The travel company has already had to apologise over a lack of communication surrounding flight times but they faced more criticism on Thursday night after it emerged over 400 fans, who have paid £559 each for what was advertised as a ‘morning flight’, would not be leaving Stansted Airport until 1:30pm and could then face a rush to get to the Wanda Metropolitano in time for kick-off at 9pm local time.
The frustrating delays have been attributed to the huge surge in flights this weekend to cope with the numbers of fans travelling out to the all-English final.
Josh Mindel (left) and Marlon Mindel (right) flew for over 24 hours and spent more than £2,000 on travel from Australia
Gary Tennent (second right) travelled out to Madrid with son David (right), daughter Emma and her boyfriend Lee (far left)
Tottenham and Liverpool fans pose together in the fanzone, one clutching a bottle of water in the searing Spanish heat
The temperature in the Spanish capital is hovering around 31 degrees and fans are expected to drink the city’s bars dry
Hundreds of Tottenham fans risk arriving far later than expected in Madrid this weekend after more issues with Thomas Cook
A Liverpool supporter sits in a bar at Plaza Mayor square in downtown Madrid as the atmosphere continues to build nicely
A fan poses with a half and half scarf outside the venue for the final – the home of Spanish giants Atletico Madrid
Around 5,000 police officers, some of them armed, are on duty while drones are being employed to keep an eye on trouble
The Department for Transport said that Friday could see the ‘busiest-ever day for the UK’s airspace with more than 9,000 flights’.
There are expected to be around 800 extra flights in UK airspace between Friday and Sunday because of the final.
Despite the carnival atmosphere in Madrid, Spanish police have initiated the largest ever security operation for a sporting event in the city’s history. The level of anti-terrorism alert currently in the country is four on a scale of five, which implies a high risk of an attack.
An estimated 4,700 police officers, some of them armed, are on duty while drones are being employed to keep an eye on potential trouble makers drinking in Madrid’s narrow side streets.
Heavy vehicles will be barred from driving near the stadium and designated fan zones for 24 hours starting at 8am on Saturday to prevent a ‘Nice-style’ attack and all police leave in the Spanish capital has been cancelled.
While there has been no history of major trouble by Tottenham or Liverpool fans during this season’s Champions League run or in recent seasons, authorities are leaving nothing to chance.
With so many fans on the street, some Madrilenos fear the kind of hooliganism which English supporters were once notorious for.
‘We hope nobody will be acting like gorillas, but we know it happens,’ said Alejadro Alvarez, a café owner in the Puerta del Sol, another famous square already packed with fans.
‘Some bars are actually shutting on Saturday because they don’t want to risk anything,’ said Mr Alvarez.
‘English fans do not have a great reputation, but we hope these two clubs can just have a nice party’.