Fri, 22 Sep 2023

ISTANBUL, June 8 (Xinhua) -- A four-day festival started in Istanbul on Thursday ahead of the UEFA Champions League final between Inter and Manchester City.

A grand ceremony was held in the festival area on the European side of the city along the shores of the Marmara Sea.

Turkish Football Federation president Mehmet Buyukeksi and UEFA Champions League final ambassador Hamit Altintop, a former Turkish football player, carried the trophy and put it on display on the stage.

"This final will be a source of motivation for the next generations. I hope it will be an exciting and nice final," Altintop said.

Soon after the ceremony, football fans gathered to have a photo with the trophy that is exhibited as part of the festival that runs through Sunday.

The jerseys of captains of 32 teams that played in the Champions League this season are also on display.

"First of all, we will be having fun here for four days," said Emre Turhan, official anchorman of the festival. "At the moment, the trophy is being carried to its exhibition place. This is an iconic moment alone."

Concerts and competitions will also take place as part of the program, including a tournament featuring some football legends including Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Clarence Seedorf, Kaka and Patrick Vieira, according to local media.

Manchester City will face Inter Milan on Saturday.

"That will be the focus of the entire world, not only of Istanbul or Türkiye," Turhan said, adding that the festival and the match would both contribute to Türkiye's promotion abroad.

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