2018 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Europe’s clubs are part of the very fabric of the cities they represent. Inspirational, their impact has been immortalised in artwork on buildings and walls across the world. Here we take a pick of some of them.
Diego Maradona remains an icon in Naples, where he spent seven glittering years. The Argentina playmaker drove SSC Napoli to their first two Serie A titles as well as UEFA Cup glory, landmark wins for a southern Italian city used to living in the shadow of its powerhouse northern rivals. His figurine is still sold among the religious icons on Via San Gregorio Armeno, while this portrait dominates the San Giovanni a Teduccio district. Surprisingly, Maradona made just six appearances in the European Cup, scoring his only two goals in the competition in a 3-0 win against Újpest FC in the first round of the 1990/91 season.
Born within a five-minute walk of AFC Ajax’s old De Meer Stadion, Johan Cruyff grew up to become a swaggering symbol of Dutch brilliance, winning three European titles with the Amsterdam outfit in the 1970s and later coaching FC Barcelona to continental glory in 1991/92.
“Rome is my family, my friends, the people I love,” explained Francesco Totti a few years before retirement. “It is the sea, the mountains, the monuments.” It is also a city that reveres the former AS Roma captain, who scored 307 goals in 786 games across 24 years of service to his home-town club, including 17 goals in 57 UEFA Champions League appearances.
The Argentinian moved to Barcelona at the age of 13 in 2001, and Lionel Messi has since become almost synonymous with the Catalan city. The four-time UEFA Champions League winner has broken record after record for the Blaugrana, ensuring legendary status.
Mohamed Salah has thrilled fans of Roma and Liverpool FC in recent years, but the Egyptian forward excites just as much interest back in Cairo, where his compatriots celebrated seeing Salah become the first footballer from Egypt to win the European Cup.
A one-club man, Giacinto Facchetti was not just a two-time European champion and among the first great attacking full-backs, but a role model to young FC Internazionale Milano supporters also. He went on to become president of the club before his death in 2006, when Inter retired his No3 shirt.