All-English UEFA Champions League final lights Madrid
Filio Kontrafouri
Madrid is simply an enchanting place. A golden metropolis visited by millions every year, it boasts a deep architectural history, world-class museums adorned by masterpieces of Spanish painters such as Picasso and Dali, peaceful parks like Retiro and a truly fine cuisine.
Although I only moved here a few weeks ago, it has been enough time to make me notice that, above all, it is Madrid's spirit and its people that make this city so mesmerizing.
So it's no wonder that two years ago, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) selected the Spanish capital as the host city for this year's Champions League final, a world showcase.
Plaza Mayor of Madrid /CGTN Photo

Plaza Mayor of Madrid /CGTN Photo

Madrid's energy and beauty could not have been better captured in the final's logo identity. This week, its various designs are seen all across the city.
Designed by Ruben Sanchez, who was born and raised in Madrid, it features local elements from Madrid (a cat [Madrilenians affectionately call each other "cats"], a chulapo [Madrilenian in traditional costume], a guitar, the bear and strawberry tree [from Madrid's coat of arms], various city buildings and the river Manzanares (which flows from the mountains through the capital) as well as iconic aspects of the competition. 
The blue colors, deriving from UEFA Champions League match nights have been mixed with orange colors, inspired by Madrid's unique sunset sky called "candilazo". 
Puerta del Sol of Madrid /CGTN Photo

Puerta del Sol of Madrid /CGTN Photo

Three days before kick-off, preparations in the center of the city and at Wanda Metropolitano, where the game will take place are in full swing ahead of the arrival of tens of thousands of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur fans from England. 
Bars on the famous Calle de Alcala' have decorated their windows with huge welcome messages, African migrants selling counterfeit products have already spread out fake Champions League clothing on the sidewalks around Puerta del Sol, while smiling tourists take pictures of all the hassle and bustle non-stop under the sunny skies.
Even if you're not a big football fan, like myself, you cannot help but get sucked in by all the energy that has enveloped Madrid this week and has made it even more vibrant. Because if there's a fun place to be in Europe this weekend, it is here.
Wanda Metropolitano Stadium of Madrid /CGTN Photo

Wanda Metropolitano Stadium of Madrid /CGTN Photo

As of Wednesday night, Madrid hotels in one of the most well-known accommodation sites had reached a capacity of 85%, with a bed in a 20-bed mixed dormitory room going for 72 euros per night during the weekend.
The demand is so high that in a local home site one Madrid resident had been advertising the rental of a mattress in a house for 400 euros a night. And that's when, again, if not a real sporty person like me, you realize why European football teams of this magnitude are a multi-billion euro business.
And you clearly understand why any city would want to host such an event. It attracts global attention and thousands of visitors, and of course it generates millions in revenue.
The UEFA Champions League Festival stage of Madrid /CGTN Photo

The UEFA Champions League Festival stage of Madrid /CGTN Photo

This year's Champions League final, Europe's ultimate football game is an all-English affair. If nothing else, being in Madrid these days can remind you of some of the beauties of being part of Europe – different people, different countries and yet, freely coming together, partying, sharing and living as one, big family. 
And it's ironic at the very least that Britain soon will probably not be part of it anymore.
(Video Editor: Li Chenqi)