Football-This one word is enough to make football fans go crazy. The sheer excitement of the field, their favorite players playing, and crazy fans chanting their favorite team’ s name is what football is all about. The adrenaline rush is immense during the fast paced game where its difficult to keep track of the ball as its constantly being kicked around by the best feet of the world across the stadium. Football is not just about winning and losing a game, some people call it a way of life and has influenced their lives in a large way. Its all about being loyal to your club and supporting your team no matter what.
Ever since football was invented during the middle ages, people seemed to have just loved it. From little kids to adults, from girls to boys everyone seems to be hooked to the game these days! While in countries like USA, and the UK people are absolutely crazy over the sport, they wear the jerseys of their favorite teams, religiously follow every match and go and live the thrill of watching the match in a stadium. Europe is no different to the phenomena called football, the French, Germans and Spaniards love their teams alike, and sometimes carry their love for their teams too far and cause serious troubles. Even the middle eastern and African countries swear by their teams, and its almost like a huge festival when big league football matches are held all over Iran and Iraq.
Though we Indians don’t have a strong football team, we do have our very own Baichung Bhutia who’s making our country proud. Even though we can’t watch matches in stadiums, or have ‘fantasy football’ leagues, we still love the game, and have an evergrowing football loving population, which maybe will outnumber our cricket loving counterparts someday.
This game, enjoyed by millions around the world would seem bland if there was no glamour to it, and this much needed excitement is brought in by these world class stadiums across the world which please the fans and provide state of the art amenities. Let’s take a look at the top 10 best football stadiums of the world.
10. Estadio Azteca, Mexico
Mexico acted as a host for both the World Cup tournaments of 1970 and 1986 the Azteca stadium has provided a lot of entertainment to people. This iconic stadium has seen the likes of Pele defeating Italy by leading Brazil on 4-1, which also marked his final international appearance. Also, Diego Maradona lead the way and defeated Germany in one of the best matches of his career in this stadium in 1986. It has a capacity of 105,064 and thus makes it the third largest in the American continent and the fifth largest in the world.
9. Nou Camp, Spain.
Nou Camp is the largest football stadium in Europe with a capacity of 98,000. The stadium constructed in 1957, has been the home of The Football Club of Barcelona ever since. Camp Nou hosted its first European Cup Winner’s Cup final between Rangers and Dynamo Moscow, in May 1972 . The stadium underwent an expansion in 1980 for the 1982 FIFA World Cup and added boxes, VIP lounges, a press area, markers and the enlargement of a huge third tier by 22,150 seats for a total capacity of around 115,000 spectators.
8. Old Trafford, England
The Old Trafford stadium in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom is the home of the famous Manchester United. With a massive capacity of 75,765, Old Trafford makes for the second largest stadium in United Kingdom, after Wembley and Ninth largest in Europe. The stadium was bombed during the second world war. United’s permanent resident Bobby Charlton nicknamed the stadium as ‘Theatre of Dreams’. The stadium has hosted a large number of matches, among 1966 FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Euro 1996. It was also the venue for 2003 UEFA Champions League Final.
7.Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Spain
The Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is owned by Real Madrid Club de Futbol. It was inaugurated in 1947, and is one of the most prestigious venues for football matches. It has hosted the European Cup Final four times, and also the very recent UEFA Champions League Final in 2010. It has a capacity of 85,454 specators, and the stadium is served by its own metro and bus routes.
6. Louis II, Monaco
The Stade Louis II is in a football stadium in the Fontvieille district of Monaco. Its the home of the AS Monaco, and is a primary venue for football matches in Monaco. It was opened in 1985 , whereas the original Stade Louis II is located nearby and was opened in 1939. It’s named after Monaco’s Sovereign Prince, Prince Louis II. It presently has a capacity of around 18,500 , which is quite big in number relative to the population of Monaco.
5. San Siro, Italy
The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza but commonly known as the San Siro, is situated in the San Siro district of Milan, Italy. The construction started in 1925, and the stadium was inaugurated on 19th September 1926, when 35,000 spectators watched a match, in which Internazionale defeated Milan 6-3. The stadium was also used for Internazionale’s UEFA Cup finals when played over home and away legs but has never featured since the competition changed to a single final structure in 1997–98. Other than football matches, the San Siro has been host to many music concerts. Bob Marley performed the first concert in the history of San Siro Stadium in 1980, in front of an all-time Italian record audience of approximately 120,000 people.
The Estadio do Maracana is a beautiful open air stadium in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It’s named after the river Maracama and is owned by the Rio De Janeiro State Government. It was opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, and in the exciting finals, Brazil was beaten by Uruguay with a score of 2-1. Since then, it has mainly been used for football matches between the major football clubs in Rio de Janeiro. The stadium has closed down since December 2012, for renovations, and to increase its capacity to 78,838, for the upcoming 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
3. Azadi, Iran
The Azadi Stadium, is the third biggest association football stadium in the world, second in Asia, and the very first in West Asia. The stadium is situated in West of Tehran, and is therefore easily accessible to the people in the city. It was built in 1971 to host the 1974 Asian Games. The massive stadium has a capacity of about 84,412 people. Azadi stadium is the home of Persepolis F.C and the Esteghal F.C in the Iran Pro League. The stadium is part of the much larger ‘The Azadi Sports Complex’ which has football training pitches, a weightlifting complex, word class swimming facilities and indoor volleyball and state of the art futsal courts, among many other grade A amenities.
2. Stadio Olimpico, Italy
The Stadio Olimpico is the largest sports facility of Rome. The home of the Lazio and Roma clubs and is the asset of The Italian National Olympic Committee. It is mainly intended for football matches, but sometimes also hosts concerts and other entertainment programs. This mesmerizing open air stadium has a capacity of 72,698 spectators, and is a favorite stadium among Romans. The stadium in 2007 underwent a massive restyling to conform with the UEFA rules to comply with its standards for the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final. The renovations have led to Stadio Olimpico to be included in the UEFA Elite Stadiums.
1. International Stadium Yokohama, Japan
The magnificent International Stadium Yokohama sits in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. The stadium which was inaugurated in March 1998 is the home stadium of the Yokohama F Marinos of the J League. It has the highest seat capacity of any stadium in Japan that of 72,327 seats. It hosted three first-round games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and the final game between Germany and Brazil was played there in June 2002. Where Germany was defeated by Brazil. The stadium has hosted several FIFA World Cup matches, and continues to do so. The immensity of the field is what draws attention from most people, and so is a favorite venue for matches.