If football is a religion, then a football stadium is a place of worship for both the players and the fans. Here are the ten places that every devotee has on their list of football pilgrimage.
10 Football Stadiums Every Football Fan must have on their Visit List:
Notable fixtures: 2014 Champions League final
The stadium of Light is the home ground of Portugal’s most successful team Benfica. In October 2014, it was elected as the most beautiful stadium in Europe, in an online poll by L’Équipe. The architecture is not just beautiful but also functional because the stadium is designed to use as much natural light as possible. It has also served as inspiration for Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and reached 12 million visitors count in August 2014.
Tenants: the Uruguayan national team
Notable fixtures: 1930 World Cup final
The Uruguayan national team has always been a threat when playing in their home stadium, consistently beating top teams. In fact, no European opponent has ever beaten Uruguay at home. FIFA lists the stadium as one of the classic football stadiums in the world. In 1983 it was honored by FIFA as the only historical monument in world football—the only stadium to be given such an accolade making it the cherry on the cake.
Tenants: Club America FC, the Mexican national football team
Notable fixtures: 1970 and 1986 World Cup finals
The club has its fine share of die-hard fans and a football frantic atmosphere but the history books will note that it is the only stadium to have hosted two world cup finals.
The most interesting trivia, however, is that this football stadium was where Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ took place. Hence it is a guaranteed a place in football history for years to come.
Tenants: Borussia Dortmund
Notable fixtures: 1974 and 2006 World Cup group-stage matches
According to the terms of a sponsorship deal the stadium will be officially known as ‘Signal Iduna Park’ but it is the spirit of Westfalenstadion that takes over whenever Borussia Dortmund plays.
It is one of the most famous football stadiums in Europe and was elected best football stadium by The Times for its renowned atmosphere. Famous for the intense atmosphere it breeds, the south terrace has been nicknamed “Yellow Wall”.
Tenants: Bayern Munich, 1860 Munich
Notable fixtures: 2012 Champions League final
The beautifully designed Allianz Arena is home to both Munich-based football teams: Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich.
It is the only stadium across the Europe that is able to change colours to reflect which of the two teams are playing; red for Bayern and blue for 1860 Munich. The stadium has been a huge hit with both sets of fans thanks to the fans being closer to the pitch, something that caused an issue at the previous site, the Olympiastadion, which had a running track around the pitch that made for a rather poor atmosphere.
Tenants: the Brazilian national football team
Notable fixtures: 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, 2016 Olympic Games football final
A beautiful stadium, in a beautiful city, that stages the beautiful game. That is incentive enough for any fan to visit the home grounds of the Brazilian national team. The stadium is part of a complex that includes an arena known by the name of Maracanãzinho, which means “the Little Maracanã” in Portuguese. As a further testament to the immense popularity of this ground, Pope John Paul II celebrated masses at the stadium.
Tenants: the English national football team
Notable fixtures: 2011 and 2013 Champions League final, 2012 Olympic football final
The Wembley stadium of today is built in the same place as the Empire stadium of 1923. It bills itself as “The Home of Football” and many fans will nod their heads in agreement. With 90,000 seats it is the second largest stadium in Europe and the largest stadium in United Kingdom.
Tenants: Manchester United
Notable fixtures: 2003 Champions League final
This somewhat gloomy industrial town in England is home to one of the most charismatic and popular football clubs in the world. Old Trafford is actually the name for two stadia, the cricket ground being almost a kilometer away from “The Theatre of Dreams”.
With manager Louis Van Gaal , Manchester United look set to embark on a new era. One thing’s for sure, however: Fans from around the world will continue flocking to the cosmopolitan Old Trafford to take in the magic of the stadium and to watch one of football’s most successful clubs.
Tenants: Real Madrid, the Spanish national football team
Notable fixtures: 1957, 1969 and 1980 European Cup finals, 2010 Champions League final, 1982 World Cup final.
The Santiago Bernabéu is home to one of Europe’s most successful club. With nine European titles to their name, Real Madrid’s place in the upper echelons of world football is secure, and there could be no more fitting venue for such a club to play.
The stadium has its own Madrid Metro station along the 10 line called Santiago Bernabéu. In November 2007, the Bernabéu has been upgraded to Elite Football Stadium status by UEFA.
Tenants: FC Barcelona
Notable fixtures: 1989 European Cup final, 1999 Champions League final
With the largest seating in all of Europe and some of the finest Footballers of all time, Camp Nou is truly the stuff that dreams are made of. The motto of the club “Més que un club” embodies the spirit of the fans and emotions run high during matches with arch rivals Real Madrid. Some of the world’s greatest footballers have graced the hollowed turf—most notably Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi—which is just another reason why the Camp Nou is one of the finest stadiums in the world.
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