Mad About Futbol Top 5: Numero Uno

5 04 2009
You know with all the talk of stadiums for the World Cup and meeting standards, it got me to thinking of the Top 5 Stadiums I would like to watch a World Cup match or for that matter any football match. Factors going into the Top 5 include size, location, history and crowd enthusiasm, so here they are:

#5 = St. James’ Park – Newcastle upon Tyne, England
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Home to Newcastle United since 1892. From what I’ve been told its one of the most intense places to watch a football match. Newcastle supporters are some of the most passionate in the world. St. James’ Park is the 3rd largest of all Premiership club stadiums and Newcastle supporters fill it up every game. Its atmosphere is like “La Bombonera of Europe.” Plus, that “NEWCASTLE UNITED” along the facade of the East Stand is cool. I know other stadiums have something similar with their club names but at St. James’ Park the sight of that “NEWCASTLE UNITED” has a power to it that is alluring.

#4 = Estadio Azteca – Mexico D.F., Mexico
Opened in 1966 it is the home of Mexican super club, Club América and El Tri, the Mexican National Team. In terms of national team matches, its the most intimidating place for opposition to come into and play. 100,000+ wild, passionate, boisterous, and mostly drunk Mexicans pack the Azteca singing, cheering, and jeering the opposition. Its an amazing scene. For World Cup history, Azteca is the only stadium to hold 2 World Cup Final matches. Its the stadium that witnessed Maradona’s “Hand Of God” goal & his defense slicing “Goal Of The Century” in 1986 and the 1970 WC Semi between Italy & West Germany known as the “Game Of The Century.” Its size, history, and ambience make it a football cathedral.

#3 = Estádio do Maracanã – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
maracana stadium Top 5   Edition III: Stadiums
The stadium less known as Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho and more popularly known as Maracanã is the temple of Brazilian football. It was constructed for the 1950 World Cup and could hold 200,000+ people. Even though the capacity has been reduced to 95,000 it is still the largest stadium in South America. Maracanã was the site of Pelé’s 1,000th goal, Zico’s last goal for Flamengo, the famous Maracanazo of the 1950 World Cup and the 1st ever FIFA Club World Cup final match. As a lifelong Brazil fan, its a must visit.

#2 = Camp Nou – Barcelona, Spain
campnou04 Top 5   Edition III: Stadiums
Opened in 1957, Camp Nou is a 5-star stadium which stands as the home of FC Barcelona and a source of Catalan pride. It is the largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of around 98,000. Barça has a massive home field advantage whenever they step on the field regardless of who they are playing. A stadium befitting a team that’s Més que un club. I’ve seen the trophy room, the museum with the statues, and stood on the bench as part of the tour and now GAME TIME!

#1 = La Bombonera – Buenos Aires, Argentina
labombonera Top 5   Edition III: Stadiums
The 2nd stadium on the list that I’ve actually been inside and taken a tour of. I was even fortunate enough to go when legendary coach Carlos Bianchi was in charge and watch a practice. Opened in 1940, its official name is Estadio Alberto J. Armando but its unique design has given it the more common title of “La Bombonera” which means “The Chocolate Box.” Ask Boca’s opponents if its sweet to play there and they’ll say its more like a vinegar bottle. The unique design and the most passionate, boisterous fans in football led by La Doce make it a nightmare for opposition. I got to go to the Superclásico before I die.

There they are, my Top 5 stadiums I would like to watch a football match. I just need to quit my job, nail a rich sugar MILF really good and I’ll be able to get to all those stadiums during a match.

Some of the stadiums that didn’t make the cut but were noteworthy: Morumbi in Sao Paulo, Estadio Saprissa in Costa Rica, Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Old Trafford in Manchester, BMO Field in Toronto, Allianz Arena in Munich, the New Wembley Stadium in London, and The Bird’s Nest aka Beijing Olympic Stadium.




One response

8 04 2009

I had the best time watching Botafogo play Fluminense at Maracanã! I would love to go back there. Can’t say that I have made it to any of the other 4. One day.

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