This season’s best Champions League, Europa League tifos
As the group stages of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League come to a close, we have only one more round of matches to enjoy before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Nov. 20.
That means only one more week of watching fans of clubs around Europe stage their elaborate prematch tifos, banners and general visual displays of support before the knockout phases of various UEFA competitions begin in the spring.
Here is a reminder of some of the most inventive and impactful creations we’ve witnessed in continental competition so far in the 2022-23 season.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (U.S.)
Celtic fans heralded their club’s return to the Champions League for the first time since 2008-09 by unveiling a large tifo featuring a “fighting leprechaun” wielding a grenade behind the goal at Celtic Park. They promptly lost 3-0 to the reigning champions. Welcome back!
To celebrate their first foray in Europe since 2001, Union fans laid on a clever flight-themed tifo ahead of their Europa League group game against Malmo at the Stadion an der alten Forsterei. The caption reads “Strap yourselves in, Union are playing in Europe!”
𝗟𝗮 𝗽𝘂𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗱𝗲 𝗡𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝘀 ⚔️#UEL I #FCNOLY pic.twitter.com/N6n8fq9geX
— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) September 9, 2022
Nantes fans provided a historical scene for their Europa League game against Greek side Olympiakos at the Beaujoire Stadium, depicting Anne of Brittany and her knights riding into battle. The banner also features the Latin motto of the Brittany region of France: “Death before dishonour.”
Pyrotechnics, flags and smoke combined to great effect as PSG ultras created an incredible riot of colour and noise ahead of their Champions League group stage opener against Juventus at the Parc des Princes.
Roaring on from the stands, Rangers fans unfurled a fearsome red-and-blue rampant lion at Ibrox to mark their return to Europe’s top table for the first time since 2010-11. Shortly afterward, they watched their side get trounced 7-1 by Liverpool in the Champions League group stage — a game that saw Mohamed Salah come off the bench to score the fastest hat trick in tournament history.
Benfica supporters produced a massive stadiumwide tifo ahead of their group stage game against Juventus. Thousands of red placards filled the terraces at the Estadio da Luz along with a straightforward message reading “We are One.”
RB Leipzig fans chose to display a measured and polite protest against UEFA’s proposed overhaul of the Champions League format when Real Madrid came to town in the group stage.
A giant banner in tribute to the late Diego Maradona was passed around the stadium that now bears his name as Napoli fans prepared for a Champion League group game against Ajax. The message at the bottom reads “I love Diego 10” in reference to the shirt number sported by the Argentina legend during his time at the club.
Having gained a reputation for their vehement support on away trips, Frankfurt fans banded together to create a literal wall of scarves before their Champions League group game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A simple comic-book style rallying cry appeared in the Curva Sud at San Siro ahead of Milan’s Champions League group stage clash against Chelsea. Unfortunately it couldn’t prevent the Rossoneri from falling to a 2-0 defeat.
Liverpool vs. Ajax
Reds fans mined a nostalgic seam with a huge banner flown in the Kop that featured patchwork images of the club’s grand European heritage, including the multiple trophies they’ve won and the iconic players and managers who helped collect them.
Twente fans went all-out with a brilliant tifo of a beer-brandishing astronaut ahead of their Conference League qualifier second leg against Cukaricki, along with the caption: “Coming down, to see European football back in our town.” It certainly did the trick as the Dutch outfit roared to a 4-1 win and booked themselves a spot in the competition proper.
To Dare Is To Do.
👏 @thfcflags pic.twitter.com/otHbn0j2Sr
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 26, 2022
Tottenham geared up for their Champions League home game against Sporting with an enormous illuminated image of the club crest that was co-organised and partly funded by British rapper and Spurs fan AJ Tracey, along with donations from fellow supporters.
Real Madrid supporters unfurled a prescient banner in the away end at Shakhtar to congratulate Karim Benzema on winning the 2022 Ballon d’Or. The French striker was duly awarded the prestigious honour the next week.
What would a roundup of European fan displays be without an appearance by the famous Yellow Wall, who were in fine voice once again when Dortmund secured their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League after the draw with Manchester City.