Cardiff City Stadium welcomed some of the biggest superstars in world football last night when European Champions Real Madrid took on domestic rivals Sevilla in a well contested curtain raiser for the upcoming footballing season.
Los Galácticos proved too much for the Europa League winners with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice in a typically dominating performance with local Welsh lad Gareth Bale providing the assist for the Portugal man’s first goal against Los Rojiblancos.
Before the game Bale was interviewed for the Programme and assessed the magnitude of the match “It’s massive for the city,” said Bale in an interview in the matchday programme. “We haven’t had anything as big as this in a long time.”
“I knew the final would be played there 18 months ago and when I came to Madrid it was one of my hopes to win the Champions League and to play in Cardiff, so it is going to be very emotional for me,” he said.
As a player who started his youth career at Southampton the new Welsh Wizard wouldn’t have been familiar with Cardiff City Stadium and may not have been aware of the grandstand expansion completed in the summer.
Planning permission for phase 1 of the Ninian Stand expansion was submitted back in August 2013 and the completed work has resulted in an additional 6,000 seats inside the stadium although fans may be far from enamoured with the change to the stadium as the club are historically known as “The Blue Birds”.
The rebranding of the club’s badge and home colours from blue to red occurred in time for the 2012/2013 season and caused concerns amongst fans across the country.
The decision to make Cardiff the hosts the Super Cup Final was also made in the same year, with UEFA setting a new precedent by selecting The Eden Arena in Prague as hosts in 2013 having previously been hosted each year in Monaco at the Stade Louis II since becoming a one-legged match in 1998.
Let’s hope that both new precedents work out for the best of football.