Interview

Write on time

He’s up against the clock with the eyes of the world upon him – and checking his spelling. When the final whistle blows, the work of Champions League trophy engraver Marcel Ries begins

INTERVIEW Patrick Vonnez

In his day job, Marcel Ries runs his family business (U. Ries et fils), specialising in sheet metal and laser cutting, in the village of Moudon just outside Lausanne. But come May each year, the 57-year-old is thrust into the footballing spotlight, engraving the name of the Champions League winners on the trophy in front of an audience of tens of millions worldwide. Watching the victors being etched in history has become an integral part of the final experience since it was first introduced in 2009 – and so far, only Ries has been entrusted with the job. Here he puts down his diamond-tipped engraving pen to give an insight into life at the sharp end.

How did it go in Porto? Were you happy that the team with the shorter name won?

Obviously in terms of my work it was easier that it was Chelsea, but it would have been nice to have a new name on the cup.

Have you been engraving trophies for UEFA for a long time?

Since 2009. It wasn’t done before then for UEFA competitions; Michel Platini requested it when he became UEFA president. He said that from 2009 the cups would be engraved on the spot after the game. The first trophy I did was the UEFA Cup final in Istanbul in 2009 – Shakhtar Donetsk were the winners – then Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

"EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T WON IT, I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT IN MY HANDS MORE THAN MOST PLAYERS. IT’S A MYTHICAL TROPHY – BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL."


Wow, Shakhtar isn’t an easy name to spell to kick off with. But then you got to see Messi’s brilliant header with 20 minutes to go in Barça’s 2-0 win against Manchester United…

No – I only ever get to watch the first half of games. From half-time I start preparing my materials and I begin preparing the cup, because it’s only at that moment that it comes to me. So, I don’t get to see all the drama.

Do you feel any pressure with the world watching you at work?

Of course, I always feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. I feel the atmosphere and it’s a magical moment. There was more pressure back at the start in 2009 because I did the engraving in the VIP area and there were a lot of people around me. Now I’m on my own, other than a TV cameraman and a member of the UEFA staff who comes up to confirm who has won so I know for sure what needs to be engraved. Sometimes I feel stressed but it’s always a pleasure to do this job.

How long are you given to get it done on the night?

Approximately 15 minutes, depending on whether the winning team has a short name such as FC Porto or a longer one like Manchester United FC.

In his day job, Marcel Ries runs his family business (U. Ries et fils), specialising in sheet metal and laser cutting, in the village of Moudon just outside Lausanne. But come May each year, the 57-year-old is thrust into the footballing spotlight, engraving the name of the Champions League winners on the trophy in front of an audience of tens of millions worldwide. Watching the victors being etched in history has become an integral part of the final experience since it was first introduced in 2009 – and so far, only Ries has been entrusted with the job. Here he puts down his diamond-tipped engraving pen to give an insight into life at the sharp end.

How did it go in Porto? Were you happy that the team with the shorter name won?

Obviously in terms of my work it was easier that it was Chelsea, but it would have been nice to have a new name on the cup.

Have you been engraving trophies for UEFA for a long time?

Since 2009. It wasn’t done before then for UEFA competitions; Michel Platini requested it when he became UEFA president. He said that from 2009 the cups would be engraved on the spot after the game. The first trophy I did was the UEFA Cup final in Istanbul in 2009 – Shakhtar Donetsk were the winners – then Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

"EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T WON IT, I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT IN MY HANDS MORE THAN MOST PLAYERS. IT’S A MYTHICAL TROPHY – BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL."


Wow, Shakhtar isn’t an easy name to spell to kick off with. But then you got to see Messi’s brilliant header with 20 minutes to go in Barça’s 2-0 win against Manchester United…

No – I only ever get to watch the first half of games. From half-time I start preparing my materials and I begin preparing the cup, because it’s only at that moment that it comes to me. So, I don’t get to see all the drama.

Do you feel any pressure with the world watching you at work?

Of course, I always feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. I feel the atmosphere and it’s a magical moment. There was more pressure back at the start in 2009 because I did the engraving in the VIP area and there were a lot of people around me. Now I’m on my own, other than a TV cameraman and a member of the UEFA staff who comes up to confirm who has won so I know for sure what needs to be engraved. Sometimes I feel stressed but it’s always a pleasure to do this job.

How long are you given to get it done on the night?

Approximately 15 minutes, depending on whether the winning team has a short name such as FC Porto or a longer one like Manchester United FC.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

On that note, if say Ajax were ever to play Borussia Mönchengladbach in the final, would you be hoping for an Ajax win?

Well, of course, Ajax would be much quicker and practical with the trophy.

If it was 5-0 with five minutes to go, would you be tempted to get ahead of the game and make an early start?

I never start before the final whistle.

Wise. Who do you support?

Lausanne Sport in Switzerland but my favourite club is Bayern München. My father is German and comes from Bavaria.


So it must have been fun literally writing their name in history in Lisbon last summer?

It was a special moment.

What’s your favourite trophy?

For engraving, it is the Champions League trophy – it’s iconic. But I also really like the shape of the Europa League trophy, but it is more complicated to engrave.

You probably spend more time with the trophy than 99.9 per cent of players ever will…

That’s true. Even though I haven’t won it, I’ve probably had it in my hands more than most players. It’s a mythical trophy – beautiful and magical. Each time it’s a great pleasure. What more can I say? I’m very lucky.

And surely you have a replica trophy at home?

No, I haven’t received one yet!

In his day job, Marcel Ries runs his family business (U. Ries et fils), specialising in sheet metal and laser cutting, in the village of Moudon just outside Lausanne. But come May each year, the 57-year-old is thrust into the footballing spotlight, engraving the name of the Champions League winners on the trophy in front of an audience of tens of millions worldwide. Watching the victors being etched in history has become an integral part of the final experience since it was first introduced in 2009 – and so far, only Ries has been entrusted with the job. Here he puts down his diamond-tipped engraving pen to give an insight into life at the sharp end.

How did it go in Porto? Were you happy that the team with the shorter name won?

Obviously in terms of my work it was easier that it was Chelsea, but it would have been nice to have a new name on the cup.

Have you been engraving trophies for UEFA for a long time?

Since 2009. It wasn’t done before then for UEFA competitions; Michel Platini requested it when he became UEFA president. He said that from 2009 the cups would be engraved on the spot after the game. The first trophy I did was the UEFA Cup final in Istanbul in 2009 – Shakhtar Donetsk were the winners – then Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

"EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T WON IT, I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT IN MY HANDS MORE THAN MOST PLAYERS. IT’S A MYTHICAL TROPHY – BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL."


Wow, Shakhtar isn’t an easy name to spell to kick off with. But then you got to see Messi’s brilliant header with 20 minutes to go in Barça’s 2-0 win against Manchester United…

No – I only ever get to watch the first half of games. From half-time I start preparing my materials and I begin preparing the cup, because it’s only at that moment that it comes to me. So, I don’t get to see all the drama.

Do you feel any pressure with the world watching you at work?

Of course, I always feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. I feel the atmosphere and it’s a magical moment. There was more pressure back at the start in 2009 because I did the engraving in the VIP area and there were a lot of people around me. Now I’m on my own, other than a TV cameraman and a member of the UEFA staff who comes up to confirm who has won so I know for sure what needs to be engraved. Sometimes I feel stressed but it’s always a pleasure to do this job.

How long are you given to get it done on the night?

Approximately 15 minutes, depending on whether the winning team has a short name such as FC Porto or a longer one like Manchester United FC.

Write on time
Interview

Write on time

He’s up against the clock with the eyes of the world upon him – and checking his spelling. When the final whistle blows, the work of Champions League trophy engraver Marcel Ries begins

INTERVIEW Patrick Vonnez

In his day job, Marcel Ries runs his family business (U. Ries et fils), specialising in sheet metal and laser cutting, in the village of Moudon just outside Lausanne. But come May each year, the 57-year-old is thrust into the footballing spotlight, engraving the name of the Champions League winners on the trophy in front of an audience of tens of millions worldwide. Watching the victors being etched in history has become an integral part of the final experience since it was first introduced in 2009 – and so far, only Ries has been entrusted with the job. Here he puts down his diamond-tipped engraving pen to give an insight into life at the sharp end.

How did it go in Porto? Were you happy that the team with the shorter name won?

Obviously in terms of my work it was easier that it was Chelsea, but it would have been nice to have a new name on the cup.

Have you been engraving trophies for UEFA for a long time?

Since 2009. It wasn’t done before then for UEFA competitions; Michel Platini requested it when he became UEFA president. He said that from 2009 the cups would be engraved on the spot after the game. The first trophy I did was the UEFA Cup final in Istanbul in 2009 – Shakhtar Donetsk were the winners – then Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

"EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T WON IT, I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT IN MY HANDS MORE THAN MOST PLAYERS. IT’S A MYTHICAL TROPHY – BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL."


Wow, Shakhtar isn’t an easy name to spell to kick off with. But then you got to see Messi’s brilliant header with 20 minutes to go in Barça’s 2-0 win against Manchester United…

No – I only ever get to watch the first half of games. From half-time I start preparing my materials and I begin preparing the cup, because it’s only at that moment that it comes to me. So, I don’t get to see all the drama.

Do you feel any pressure with the world watching you at work?

Of course, I always feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. I feel the atmosphere and it’s a magical moment. There was more pressure back at the start in 2009 because I did the engraving in the VIP area and there were a lot of people around me. Now I’m on my own, other than a TV cameraman and a member of the UEFA staff who comes up to confirm who has won so I know for sure what needs to be engraved. Sometimes I feel stressed but it’s always a pleasure to do this job.

How long are you given to get it done on the night?

Approximately 15 minutes, depending on whether the winning team has a short name such as FC Porto or a longer one like Manchester United FC.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

In his day job, Marcel Ries runs his family business (U. Ries et fils), specialising in sheet metal and laser cutting, in the village of Moudon just outside Lausanne. But come May each year, the 57-year-old is thrust into the footballing spotlight, engraving the name of the Champions League winners on the trophy in front of an audience of tens of millions worldwide. Watching the victors being etched in history has become an integral part of the final experience since it was first introduced in 2009 – and so far, only Ries has been entrusted with the job. Here he puts down his diamond-tipped engraving pen to give an insight into life at the sharp end.

How did it go in Porto? Were you happy that the team with the shorter name won?

Obviously in terms of my work it was easier that it was Chelsea, but it would have been nice to have a new name on the cup.

Have you been engraving trophies for UEFA for a long time?

Since 2009. It wasn’t done before then for UEFA competitions; Michel Platini requested it when he became UEFA president. He said that from 2009 the cups would be engraved on the spot after the game. The first trophy I did was the UEFA Cup final in Istanbul in 2009 – Shakhtar Donetsk were the winners – then Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

"EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T WON IT, I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT IN MY HANDS MORE THAN MOST PLAYERS. IT’S A MYTHICAL TROPHY – BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL."


Wow, Shakhtar isn’t an easy name to spell to kick off with. But then you got to see Messi’s brilliant header with 20 minutes to go in Barça’s 2-0 win against Manchester United…

No – I only ever get to watch the first half of games. From half-time I start preparing my materials and I begin preparing the cup, because it’s only at that moment that it comes to me. So, I don’t get to see all the drama.

Do you feel any pressure with the world watching you at work?

Of course, I always feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. I feel the atmosphere and it’s a magical moment. There was more pressure back at the start in 2009 because I did the engraving in the VIP area and there were a lot of people around me. Now I’m on my own, other than a TV cameraman and a member of the UEFA staff who comes up to confirm who has won so I know for sure what needs to be engraved. Sometimes I feel stressed but it’s always a pleasure to do this job.

How long are you given to get it done on the night?

Approximately 15 minutes, depending on whether the winning team has a short name such as FC Porto or a longer one like Manchester United FC.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

On that note, if say Ajax were ever to play Borussia Mönchengladbach in the final, would you be hoping for an Ajax win?

Well, of course, Ajax would be much quicker and practical with the trophy.

If it was 5-0 with five minutes to go, would you be tempted to get ahead of the game and make an early start?

I never start before the final whistle.

Wise. Who do you support?

Lausanne Sport in Switzerland but my favourite club is Bayern München. My father is German and comes from Bavaria.


So it must have been fun literally writing their name in history in Lisbon last summer?

It was a special moment.

What’s your favourite trophy?

For engraving, it is the Champions League trophy – it’s iconic. But I also really like the shape of the Europa League trophy, but it is more complicated to engrave.

You probably spend more time with the trophy than 99.9 per cent of players ever will…

That’s true. Even though I haven’t won it, I’ve probably had it in my hands more than most players. It’s a mythical trophy – beautiful and magical. Each time it’s a great pleasure. What more can I say? I’m very lucky.

And surely you have a replica trophy at home?

No, I haven’t received one yet!

In his day job, Marcel Ries runs his family business (U. Ries et fils), specialising in sheet metal and laser cutting, in the village of Moudon just outside Lausanne. But come May each year, the 57-year-old is thrust into the footballing spotlight, engraving the name of the Champions League winners on the trophy in front of an audience of tens of millions worldwide. Watching the victors being etched in history has become an integral part of the final experience since it was first introduced in 2009 – and so far, only Ries has been entrusted with the job. Here he puts down his diamond-tipped engraving pen to give an insight into life at the sharp end.

How did it go in Porto? Were you happy that the team with the shorter name won?

Obviously in terms of my work it was easier that it was Chelsea, but it would have been nice to have a new name on the cup.

Have you been engraving trophies for UEFA for a long time?

Since 2009. It wasn’t done before then for UEFA competitions; Michel Platini requested it when he became UEFA president. He said that from 2009 the cups would be engraved on the spot after the game. The first trophy I did was the UEFA Cup final in Istanbul in 2009 – Shakhtar Donetsk were the winners – then Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

"EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T WON IT, I’VE PROBABLY HAD IT IN MY HANDS MORE THAN MOST PLAYERS. IT’S A MYTHICAL TROPHY – BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL."


Wow, Shakhtar isn’t an easy name to spell to kick off with. But then you got to see Messi’s brilliant header with 20 minutes to go in Barça’s 2-0 win against Manchester United…

No – I only ever get to watch the first half of games. From half-time I start preparing my materials and I begin preparing the cup, because it’s only at that moment that it comes to me. So, I don’t get to see all the drama.

Do you feel any pressure with the world watching you at work?

Of course, I always feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. I feel the atmosphere and it’s a magical moment. There was more pressure back at the start in 2009 because I did the engraving in the VIP area and there were a lot of people around me. Now I’m on my own, other than a TV cameraman and a member of the UEFA staff who comes up to confirm who has won so I know for sure what needs to be engraved. Sometimes I feel stressed but it’s always a pleasure to do this job.

How long are you given to get it done on the night?

Approximately 15 minutes, depending on whether the winning team has a short name such as FC Porto or a longer one like Manchester United FC.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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