Hopeful football fans have arrived in Madrid prepared to part with thousands of pounds for a Champions League final ticket – despite a police clampdown on fakes and resales.
Around 16,000 places each have gone to Tottenham and Liverpool supporters ahead of Saturday’s showpiece event, with standard tickets selling at around 70 euros (£62).
But fans say they have been quoted an average of 6,000 euros (£5,300), roughly 100 times the face value, and much more than many are willing to pay.
One Liverpool fan, who gave his name only as John, said he was hoping for “a bit of luck” after arriving in Madrid without a ticket.
The 25-year-old told the Press Association: “Bit of a tough one, mate, but hopefully might find a bit of luck, find a good soul who can help us out for quite cheap.
“Looking to spend about 2,000 euros. Sounds a lot, but it’s a bit of a tough one considering how many people are looking to buy and the prices.
“We’ve seen online they are around 5,000 euros each, so less than halfway there. We might have to busk today in the square to get some extra money in.”
Mark Roy, a Liverpool fan living in Abu Dhabi, wore a custom-made T-shirt in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor advertising his willingness to buy a ticket.
The 49-year-old, originally from Manchester, said: “I’ve just gotta be here – any Liverpool fan, a Champions League final, just has to be here. Haven’t got a ticket yet, hence the T-shirt.
“I’m looking to spend about 2,500 euros. Even on the street last night they were 6,000 euros on average and I’ve said no to that. I’ve spoke to a couple of people today and supposed to meet someone – if he turns up, I’ll have a ticket.
“I’m aware of the counterfeits. I’ve done my research, 100%, I’m not spending 2,500 on something that might be fake.”
Spurs season ticket holder Mick Ozkor, 46, from Enfield in north London, said he felt fortunate he, his two young sons and father had tickets to the game.
He said: “We arrived on Tuesday. It’s half-term for the kids so we thought we’d make a bit of a trip of it.
“My father is going to bring the tickets tomorrow, so we will hopefully be at the game.
“Quite excited, very nervous – can’t believe it til we get into the stadium. I told them it might be once in a lifetime for us.
“It’s all become very corporate here in football and I think what they could have done is given the supporters more. It’s a shame that not everyone can attend.”
Plenty of fans crossed continents to get to the game – even those without a ticket.
Matt Howley from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, US, said: “No ticket, we are going down to one of the plazas … go walk around the ground and hope to get lucky. I have a number in my head that I don’t want to spend any more than. If we don’t get lucky we will go to a bar.
“We just want to be a part of it. I get the first two days for football, then she (girlfriend Emily) gets the next two for sightseeing.
“I probably have no shot. I’d like to keep it under 1,000 dollars a ticket – I don’t think that’s realistic.
“I could meet some kind Good Samaritan who says, ‘My two friends aren’t showing up, face value, will you pay?’ That’s what I’m hoping for.”
An extra 1,300 Spanish tourism police have been deployed to Madrid to help cope with the influx of fans.
Spanish officials are deploying unprecedented security measures for the final, which has been declared a “high risk” match.
More than 4,700 security personnel from several security areas will be involved in the operation in total.
Police officer Jose Ramon Carrasco said: “We will be looking for people with both counterfeit tickets and also selling and reselling tickets which is not allowed.
“If they (police) find out, they will take the tickets from these people and fine them.”
He said he expected fans to enjoy themselves but conduct themselves properly.
The officer added: “We understand they’re going to be noisy, happy or singing or whatever – that’s understandable.
“What’s not understandable is maybe throwing bottles in the street, getting into fights. We don’t accept that.”
Spanish police will also use an anti-drone system ahead of the final.
It comes as officers said they have detained six people and seized 2,000 fake Champions League products that were going to be sold in Madrid ahead of the final.
Huge screens, stages and pop-up bars have also been erected in plazas across the city as part of a “festival” celebrating the sport.
But fans have been told the screens will not show the match live, meaning many are likely to cram into packed-out bars well in advance of the 8pm BST kick-off to catch the action.
Extra police officers from London and Merseyside have also been drafted in to assist their Spanish counterparts in dealing with the influx of British supporters.
Superintendent Nick Collins, the Metropolitan Police’s lead for football policing, said: “This is a historic match for British football and it promises to be a fantastic occasion, and a memorable time for travelling fans.
“A robust policing plan is in place to ensure disruption and any trouble is kept to a minimum, and so fans can focus on enjoying the spectacle.”
Fans making the journey from England to the continent have been warned to pack sun cream, with temperatures expected to reach 32C on Saturday.
Met Office forecaster Emma Smith, herself a Liverpool fan from Merseyside, said: “People will need their factor 50 over the next few days.
“It’s going to be warming up in the UK, but it will be even warmer in Spain this weekend.”
Prices for flights and accommodation soared moments after the teams secured their places in the finals.