Football stadiums hold a unique place in the heart’s of millions, if not billions, of fans around the world. They are the venues for the most dramatic, uplifting and engrossing moments in sport. Of course, for certain fans, some stadia will have more appeal than others, but this list aims to showcase the five that are the most objectively awe-inspiring. So without further ado, and in no particular order, let’s take a look at some staggering stadia…
Valencia – Mestalla: A huge black bat, wings outstretched as though it’s flying directly at you, emblazoned on one of the steepest banked stands in world football – what could be more intimidating than that? Valencia’s historic stadium has a 55,000 capacity and has seen witnessed some historic domestic and European nights. For atmosphere alone it could earn a place on this list; but it helps that it looks pretty great, too.
Mexico National Football Team, Cruz Azul, Club America – Estadio Azteca: This one has a place on this list for, above all, its sheer size. Although the capacity of this soccer stadium has fluctuated throughout the years, it was filled with roughly 107,000 fans as an iconic Brazil side beat Italy 4-1 in the 1970 World Cup Final. Just 16 years later 114,000 watched Argentina triumph over Germany, making it the only stadium to have hosted two world cup finals.
England National Football Team – Wembley Stadium: Commonly referred to as the ‘home of football’ Wembley is the newest addition to this list having been completed in 2007. Since then, however, every FA Cup and League Cup final has been held under its iconic arch. With the 2020 European Championship semi-finals and final set to be played there too, the best of Wembley is yet to come. The 90,000 seater stadium is surely one of the best.
AC Milan, Inter Milan – San Siro: The San Siro is wholly different from other stadia on this list in terms of its aesthetics. A vast concrete structure with its iconic red metal rigging and the cylindrical structures which make up its base, it looks remarkably industrious and brutalist – a far cry from the sleek, futuristic look of modern stadiums.
Perhaps this is a reflection of Italian football: robust, imposing yet strangely beautiful. Sadly, the San Siro is set to be demolished after
Barcelona – Camp Nou: This one simply had to be on the list. Has any single soccer stadium got such a rich footballing heritage? Of course, there’s a case to be made that the Santiago Bernabeu (home of Real Madrid) rivals Barcelona’s base in this sense. But the capacity (99,354) combined with the ‘old-school’ feel (something the Bernabeu lacks) just about edges it, for me at least. The club’s motto ‘Mes Que Un Club’, meaning ‘more than a club’ is inscribed on one of Camp Nou’s stands – and, in the same sense, Camp Nou is more than a stadium: it’s a footballing cathedral.