Best football stadiums in the world
Camp Nou, Barcelona (FC Barcelona)
Barcelona’s Camp Nou (or New Field) has established itself as one of the iconic grounds and certainly among the best football stadiums in the world. Granted, the relative lack of a roof might not be suited to Manchester United or Stoke City but it works for Barca. As well as the hugely passionate locals, droves of tourists make a trip to the Camp Nou during visits to the city. Fortunately, with a capacity of 99,354, it can usually cater for most.
La Bombonera, Buenos Aires (Boca Juniors)
It might not be one of the flashiest or prettiest stadium in the world, but it is certainly one of the best. It is officially known as the Estadio Alberto J. Armando, but everyone knows it by its nickname, which translates as the chocolate box. The nickname stems from the steep sides of the stadium, which give unusual acoustics and amplify an already fervent Boca Juniors crowd.
Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro (Flamengo, Fluminense and Botafogo)
Recently revamped for the 2014 World Cup, the Maracana is one of those stadiums at which players from around the world dream of scoring. Home to three Brazilian club sides, plus frequently the Brazil national team, it gets plenty of use. The rebuild has arguably lost some of the old character, but the World Cup showed that it is still a very special stadium.
Wembley, London (England)
England’s home is one of the rare stadiums that is iconic without having a club side playing there regularly. Like the Maracana, some of the character and magic has been lost in a rebuild but, even without the old Twin Towers, it remains a spectacular example of a modern football stadium. Arguably the spiritual home of world football.
Allianz Arena, Munich (Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich)
A new home for Bayern Munich and neighbours TSV 1860 Munich that was built ahead of the 2006 World Cup. From the outside, it looks as if a spaceship has landed in Bavaria. Its luminous exterior makes it instantly recognisable from any other football stadium. Although hardcore Bayern fans suggest that some of the stadium rules prevent them creating the atmosphere they would like, it usually sounds and feels pretty impressive.
Anfield, Liverpool (Liverpool FC)
With the increasing sanitisation of football and greater expectation of safety and comfort among supporters paying increasingly high ticket prices on matchdays – coupled with the rebuilding or demolition of many traditional stadiums, Anfield is one of the few original grounds that can still be considered among the best football stadiums in the world. Renovation work is due to begin soon, which might change that. For now, it retains an incredible heritage and an atmosphere that is closely linked to that heritage.
Celtic Park, Glasgow (Celtic)
Following on from Anfield, Celtic Park shames many of the same traits, much of the same atmosphere and many of the same songs. Another traditional stadium that remains close to its roots.
Estadio Municipal de Braga, Braga (Sporting Clube de Braga)
The smallest capacity stadium on this list at just 30,286. Of course, the absence of two entire stand doesn’t help matters, but that is the beauty of Estadio Municipal de Braga. The stadium is built into the rocky face of a quarry next door, which makes for one of the most unusual top-flight football experiences in the world.
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City (Mexico and Club America)
The largest football-specific stadium in the world, the Azteca hold 105,000. It is an iconic ground due to the size, the architecture and the sheer number of important football moments to have taken place there, not least two World Cup finals.
Old Trafford, Manchester (Manchester United)
It might not always get the atmosphere it deserves (just ask Roy Keane), but it undoubtedly a special arena. Manchester United have found ways to build and develop on their Theatre of Dreams so that it remained fit for purpose.
Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid (Real Madrid)
In a neat mirroring of the occupiers’ transfer policy of recent years, the Bernabeu is all about an impressive facade. Inside it opens up into an 85,464-seater stadium, which makes it second only to fierce rivals Barcelona in terms of Europe’s biggest grounds.