Lionel Messi dazzles as Barcelona cruise to a 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League final
Messi and co will hope to continue their good fortune at Wembley Stadium in 2013 [GALLO/GETTY]
On May 28th 2011 Barcelona shone on the Wembley turf during a 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League final.
Wembley will not have to wait too long to welcome back Europe’s finest with UEFA announcing on Thursday that the Champions League final will return to London in 2013.
UEFA president Michel Platini declared that the final would return to Wembley, building on the success of the May showpiece between Manchester United and Barcelona.
Platini said the UEFA executive committee decided on the London venue because it was the best choice overall “for the development of football” but also because the English Football Association will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2013.
“We felt it was our duty at UEFA to help the FA celebrate in some special way,” Platini said.
“For this reason we have decided to return to England and specifically to Wembley Stadium.”
Platini declined to name London’s competitors, adding: “There are always a lot of candidates for the final.”
It will be the first time a stadium has hosted the European Cup final twice in three years, although Wembley hosted the final twice in four years between 1968 and 1971.
“Some will be surprised that we’re going back there two years later, but it was important to mark the FA’s 150th year,” said Platini.
“The UEFA executive committee approved this decision unanimously. They’re the oldest federation. If we forget the past, we have no future.”
It will be the seventh time that Wembley has organised the final of Europe’s premier cup competition, more than any other venue.
“UEFA viewed the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley as a major success, and today they have paid us the ultimate compliment”
FA chairman David Bernstein
“We are delighted Wembley Stadium has been chosen to host the 2013 Champions League final,” FA chairman David Bernstein said.
“UEFA viewed the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley as a major success, and today they have paid us the ultimate compliment.”
He said the anniversary “will be a major celebration of football in this country during a landmark year for our organisation.”
Platini also announced that Toulouse and Saint-Etienne would host matches at the 2016 European Championship in France, having initially been placed on the reserve list.
It swells the list of host cities for the tournament, which will be the first to feature 24 teams, from nine to 11.
Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nancy, Nice, Paris (Parc des Princes) and Saint-Denis (Stade de France) had already been selected.