The former Portugal midfielder is proud his nation have the opportunity to showcase their ability to host the biggest game in the European club calendar
Paulo Sousa believes Lisbon will put on a “fantastic final” for Real Madrid and Atletico in Saturday’s Champions League showpiece.
Sousa began his career at Benfica, but never played in the new Estadio Da Luz, which was rebuilt for Euro 2004.
“I was involved as a broadcaster in Euro 2004 in some games at Benfica’s stadium and also Portugal won the Under-20 World Cup there,” he said. “A full stadium is always amazing but the atmosphere is something really special.
“Being Portuguese, it’s another recognition of everything that we can do, the way we can receive people, the stadiums we have.
“Since Euro 2004 all the stadiums that were built are really good. Benfica is a club with lots of tradition in the Uefa Champions League, with also the imagery of Eusebio and the environment around Portugal, the love we have for football, the passion.
“The city and the stadium will produce a fantastic final.”
Sousa says Saturday’s showpiece represents a good opportunity to pay tribute to Eusebio, after the Portuguese legend passed away earlier this year.
“He was one of the best players of all time, he represents lots of things: sacrifice, character, personality, quality and also a way to be something really special, like he was on a daily basis. He taught me values in my life, values we need to have to achieve important things, because life gives us opportunities when you have these values.
“So I think it will be a nice thing also so we can make a tribute. I’m sure Uefa will prepare something really, really special.
“Unfortunately we won’t have him there live, but he will be alive forever.”
Another notable Portuguese, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, will be present at Saturday’s match and Sousa says he has been influenced by the success of his compatriot.
“He’s someone that has influenced not only me, but everybody,” the Maccabi Tel Aviv boss said. “For that, I’m glad he’s Portuguese, I’m glad he’s a winner, and I’m glad for him.
“From him and from other coaches I’ve worked with as a football player, I take the best I can from them and he has a lot of great things to use and to help me get success.”