x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Away days are special for the loyal fans

Manchester City fans will travel to the Bernabeu this season.
Manchester City fans will travel to the Bernabeu this season.

Real Madrid fans have been slow to buy tickets for their opening Champions League group D game against Manchester City on Tuesday. Just 11,941 had been sold up to yesterday, although Real are confident of a 60,000 plus crowd in the 80,000 capacity arena.

There is no shortage of demand from their visitors. City received 3,600 tickets - just under the five per cent of capacity as recommended by Uefa - and, such is the excitement among their fans for a first ever trip to one of football's greatest citadels, they sold out.

It could have been many more - City received more than 10,000 calls or emails for the tickets, but only their most loyal match going fans could apply. Fearing that many City fans will travel without tickets or try to buy tickets in the home sections, Spanish police have declared it high risk, with 1,000 police and security agents set to work at the game.

A trip to Madrid's Bernabeu, Barcelona's Camp Nou or the San Siro in Milan remains a highlight for any football fan.

English clubs have taken huge numbers of fans to Milan, with provincial clubs such as Newcastle United and Leeds United bringing an incredible 10,000 fans. Teams would take just as many to Madrid or Barcelona if there were bigger allocations, but - fearing trouble - Spanish clubs are reluctant to allocate more tickets.

The Champions League group stage is oft derided for being predictable, but it provides football fans with a chance to see their team appear in football's greatest arenas.


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