With just hours before kick-off in Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev, supporters of Real Madrid began to converge on the Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of witnessing “la decimotercera”, a 13th European Cup title.
Near to their stadium, which will be packed out with fans watching the match against Liverpool on a giant screen, were hundreds of Real supporters, many with flags in the team’s colours draped over their shoulders or fastened around their waists.
“We are the kings of Europe”, chanted one fan carrying a megaphone while others danced and sang songs celebrating the club’s rich and successful history.
“It’s what we’ve been waiting for the whole year. We’re going to win our third consecutive title, which no team has ever done,” one supporter, Javier Saez, told AFP just outside the ground.
Streets in the city centre were also awash with fans wearing replica shirts, many sporting the names of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo or Real captain Sergio Ramos.
The most successful club in European Cup history with 12 titles, Real are bidding for yet another triumph in Kiev to add another glorious chapter to the club’s storied history.
Frenchman Zinedine Zidane could become the first coach to win three consecutive Champions League crowns, despite having spent less than three years at the helm.
“It would be a proud moment. No one has done it,” said Joel Martin, holding aloft an inflatable European Cup.
Gabriel Diaz, a Real fan from Barcelona, was at the Bernabeu last year to watch a live broadcast of the 4-1 victory over Juventus in the final in Cardiff.
“It was one of the best days of my life. To live that was an unforgettable experience. It’s the best club in the history of football without doubt,” he added.