Football is the single most-watched sport throughout the world. But while cheering your national squad or your favorite club in your local pub is just right to get in the mood, nothing beats the hectic atmosphere of a stadium filled to the brim with buoyant supporters. Some stadiums are notorious for their wild ambiance and even louder fans. Others have played center stage in some of the most memorable events in football history, from suspenseful finals to heart-wrenching missed opportunities. So, what may be the world’s most legendary football arenas? We bring you four iconic stadiums for all fans of the beautiful game to visit at least once in their lifetime.
Picture close to 100,000 elated fans chanting and cheering, and you might feel shivers running down your spine. Erected in 1957, Camp Nou might not be the oldest stadium in Europe by a long shot. The Santiago Bernabeu, home to arch-rivals Real Madrid, was even completed ten years before. But with a seating capacity of 99,354, Barcelona’s legendary stadium is the largest in Europe. Catalonian for new field, Camp Nou is the home stadium of Spanish LaLiga giant FC Barcelona. Camp Nou has seen its fair share of epic Champions League games, thus, including a mind-blowing 6-1 comeback against PSG so epic it inspired a brand new entry to the French dictionary. The stadium also hosted the opening game of the 1984 FIFA World Cup as well as the football final at the 1992 Olympics.
Located in Milan, this iconic stadium was renamed Giuseppe Meazza almost forty years ago. But to football fans, the largest football venue in Italy will always remain San Siro. This Milan landmark opened its gates in 1926 before undergoing several renovations and modernizations that would increase its seating capacity to its current 85,000 spectators. Funnily enough, San Siro is now home to two of the Italian Serie A’s most famous and decorated clubs. Indeed, bitter rivals Inter Milan and AC Milan both call San Siro their turf. And the Milan Derby is one of the most anticipated clashes of the European football season.
Picking one English stadium out of so many legendary venues is particularly challenging. Wembley Stadium holds the crown for being nothing less than the world’s biggest football stadium, while Manchester United’s Old Trafford has been a staple of Premier League football for over a hundred years. Still, Anfield Road might take the cake when it comes to sheer passion and vibrancy. The English grounds were even ranked number two in the world for the greatest stadium atmospheres, right behind Boca Juniors’ Bombonera. Home to Liverpool FC since their late 19th-century beginnings, Anfield boasts a current capacity of 53,394 fans. But even if you’re not an avid supporter of the Reds, hearing the infamous You’ll Never Walk Alone anthem is a chilling experience for all football lovers out there.
Football is as much a sport as a way of life in Brazil. And the Maracanã is a true temple to the beautiful game. Home to Flamengo and Fluminense, Maracanã Stadium was constructed in 1950 to welcome the FIFA World Cup. Since then, countless Brazilian icons like Romario, Ronaldinho, and Neymar have graced its pitch. The Maracanã also bore witness to pivotal matches, erupting when Pelé reached a historic 1,000 career goals or when Brazil snatched its first Copa America in 40 years. The FIFA World Cup returned to this legendary arena in 2014, as the Maracanã saw Germany emerge victorious over Argentina. So, will Qatar World Cup stadiums be home to as many momentous games? Gearing up for the upcoming World Cup, fans can get hyped up by checking out all eight Qatar arenas. 64 matches will play out across the emirate, with the final slated for the Lusail Iconic Stadium. And contrary to Brazil’s edition, visiting fans won’t have to travel far as all stadiums are within close distance.
If you’re a die-hard football fan, the above stadiums are well worth adding to your bucket list. Grabbing tickets to see a live game might be strenuous, though. That is why most stadiums now offer tours to peek behind the scenes. But even if you cannot make the trip, these stadiums are sure to host many more exhilarating games for you to enjoy on screen.
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