Champions League: 170,000 football fans create buzz in city

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Gareth Bale with the trophyImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale lifts the trophy in his home city

Thousands of fans have been in Cardiff for the Champions League final.

Up to 170,000 people arrived in the city to watch holders Real Madrid from Spain beat Italy's Juventus 4-1.

While most travelled from those countries, fans came from all around the world, making their way from places including Brazil, Iran and Australia.

Before kick-off, police had warned ticketless fans not to buy from touts after three men were arrested for related offences.

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Juventus fans make themselves heard

A 35-year-old from Napoli was arrested on Friday after a tip-off from an off-duty Italian officer and he will appear before city magistrates on Monday.

On Saturday, two other men, aged 32 and 28, were arrested on suspicion of fraud after being found with four tickets and a significant quantity of money. They remain in police custody.

A small number of tickets for the final were stolen and officers warned that anyone buying tickets off the street could be refused entry to the stadium if they turn out to be stolen or fake.

They are also set to enforce additional stop and search powers as part of a massive security operation, while bags will not be allowed into the ground.

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The reason 170,000 are in Cardiff - the Champions League trophy

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City statues are turned into Real Madrid mascots
Image source, PA

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: "We will have in the region of 2,000 police officer deployments across Cardiff, with every officer fully aware of the huge task ahead and committed to ensuring residents and visitors to the capital have a safe and enjoyable experience.

"We continue to advise people who don't have tickets to the match to avoid travelling by car or public transport to the city centre due to the unprecedented influx of visitors we are expecting.

"For those who have tickets, our advice is to allow extra time for travel and security checks and to remain vigilant throughout the day. You are also advised not to bring a bag to the stadium, there will bag drops across the city."

Major city centre roads have been shut since midnight and will not reopen until 03:30 BST on Sunday, with people warned not to drive into the city.

Image source, South Wales Police
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Keeping an eye on the cup - a South Wales Police officer and his dog
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Fans were in jubilant mood ahead of the final

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Champions League fans learn Welsh ahead of the final

Drivers have also been banned from all roads around the National Stadium of Wales, Callaghan Square and the Capitol Shopping Centre.

Arriva Trains Wales urged people not to come by train unless necessary.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Supporters from both sides enjoyed each others' company outside Cardiff Castle
Image source, Getty Images
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Security is tight in Cardiff city centre

The first of the phased road closures came into force on Thursday.

Cowbridge Road East was closed between Lower Cathedral Road and Westgate Street, at the south east corner of Bute Park, on Wednesday and will remain shut until 06:00 on Monday.

Lloyd George Avenue has been shut from Callaghan Square to Cardiff Bay, with further closures around Bute Place, until 22:00 on Sunday.

Cardiff Central Station is expected to be very busy all day and no Arriva services will leave the station between 19:00 and 23:00.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Real Madrid fans in Cardiff ready for the match
Image source, Cardiff Airport
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Fans arriving at Cardiff Airport on Saturday were taken by coach into the city centre

After that time, the station will only be open for services to Bristol, London, the Midlands, the Shropshire marches and Swansea only, with some services running until 05:00 on Sunday.

Cardiff and Valleys services will run from Queen Street station.

A queuing system is in place, but passengers are being warned it could take up to 90 minutes to get on board a train.

Gareth Thomas, from Arriva Trains Wales, said 50,000 additional places were available, adding: "We've had to put on an additional 82 services and run later than we normally do."

Image source, EPA