Having a proper ground where you can gather both a huge number of fans and soccer enthusiasts is a vital part of every soccer club in the world. There are various instances where a club with a huge following can’t quite welcome as many supporters as they would like to and vice versa. Some of them try to recuperate that by either increasing the ticket prices or investing heavily into a new stadium (or into the renovation of the old one). Some of the most recent examples of this could be seen in England.
Tottenham Hotspur decided to practically build a new stadium at the location of their old one. They did so by removing old stands and placing new ones, step by step. In 2017 White Hart Lane became Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which saw an increase in the capacity from roughly 33 thousand seats to 63 thousand seats. On the other hand, we have their North London rivals, Arsenal, who completely abandoned their old stadium Highbury in 2006 and moved to a newly built Emirates Stadium that same year. A total increase of around 22 thousand seats.
We’ve also witnessed some huge stadium upgrades, which saw clubs like Liverpool stay at their old ground without moving or demolishing it. Liverpool’s board agreed on upgrading Anfield’s capacity by renovating old stands and increasing the number of seats. The reason why they went with this option is to keep the tradition and stay at the ground they’ve been playing on ever since the club was founded in 1892.
In Italy, for example, we have a completely different situation. Northern Italy’s fiercest rivals, Milan and Inter, are sharing one stadium. Rossoneri (AC Milan) call their stadium San Siro, while Nerazzurri (Inter Milan) have a completely different name for their home ground – Giuseppe Meazza, an Inter Milan legend. Both clubs have separate entrances and stands that they use during matchday.
Let’s take a look at the list of 10 of the best soccer stadiums in the world:
10. Goodison Park, Liverpool
While Everton might not be a top-tier English soccer club at the moment, they are still a club with a history and pedigree, winning nine English League titles and five FA Cups. Their home ground, Goodison Park, has a capacity of a little less than 40 thousand seats.
Why is it one of the best ones?
Goodison Park has been a blueprint for many soccer stadiums both in England and all over the world ever since it was built in 1892. Some would even argue that it influenced a handful of stadiums in South America. The blue side of the Merseyside is ready to move to new home ground. Bramley-Moore is currently under construction, and it will open in 2024 if everything goes according to plan.
9. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
A multi-purpose stadium that’s located in Mexico City is home to both Club America and the Mexican national team. Mexico’s largest stadium has quite a unique “home advantage” since it is located at over 2000 meters above sea level.
The stadium opened in 1966 and since then, it has hosted not one, but two world cup finals – one in 1970 and the other in 1986. Azteca’s official capacity is currently capped at 87,523. Why currently? Well, the original capacity of the stadium was capped at around 105,000 when it was originally opened.
8. The Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
A stadium so influential that one European club in Belgrade, Serbia, named its stadium after The Maracanã. Although Red Star Belgrade plays their home matches at Rajko Mitić stadium, the unofficial and more common name of their home ground among the fans is Marakana.
When it comes to the original Maracanã, the stadium is located in one of the biggest cities in Brazil. It opened in 1950 and has a capacity of 78,838 seats. The most interesting fact about Flamengo’s and Fluminense’s home ground is that right after opening in 1950, the stadium had a record attendance of 199,854 when Brazil faced Uruguay in the World Cup.
7. Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
The newest stadium on this list, Wanda Metropolitano, opened in 2017. Home ground to Real Madrid’s city rivals – Atlético Madrid. Colchoneros’ success in both domestic and the Champions League over the past 15 years has made them a part of the European elite.
The capacity of the stadium named after its sponsors, Wanda Group, is capped at 68,456. Atlético’s constant rise in popularity will only bring more and more fans to the stadium.
6. Estadio Alberto J. Armando, Buenos Aires
A stadium that is also known as La Bombonera is home ground to Boca Juniors – one of the two biggest clubs in Argentina, alongside River Plate. Stadium’s name translates from Spanish to the chocolate box. Located in Argentina’s capital city, La Bombonera has a capacity of 54,000. While not being the biggest one on this list, the shape of the stadium itself is quite unique and memorable.
Something that makes the stadium also stand out is the fans. A full La Bombonera is on another level compared to the empty one since South American soccer culture is quite remarkable and gripping.
5. Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Santiago Bernabeu, the home ground of 13-time European title winner, was originally opened in 1947. The stadium was renovated twice since it was built – the first time in 1982 and the second time in 2001. The reason for several renovations was and still is the constant growth of Real Madrid both as a club and as a brand, which means that more fans demand more tickets.
Even though the stadium is not as big as Barcelona’s Camp Nou capacity-wise, it’s still one of the most iconic monuments of soccer in the entire world. It is a host to around 81,000 visitors every matchday.
4. San Siro, Milan
The aforementioned home ground to both Milan and Inter, San Siro is one of the best Italian stadiums ever built. The capacity is quite similar to the previously mentioned Santiago Bernabeu – 80,018. The shape of the stadium might not catch an eye of an average person, but every soccer enthusiast is probably quite aware of the history and the significance of San Siro.
The stadium that is a host to two European giants will celebrate its 100-year history in four years.
3. Camp Nou, Barcelona
The largest European stadium is in third place of our top ten best soccer stadiums in the world, with a capacity of 99,354. Camp Nou opened in 1957, and ever since then, it has been a host to so many historical moments, especially in recent history.
Barcelona’s home ground is the fourth largest stadium in the world. Its iconic look is familiar even to those who have never watched a single soccer match. Some of the legends we’ve been able to see play here are, among many, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Ronaldinho, and Maradona.
2. Allianz Arena, Munich
Home of the most decorated German club, Bayern Munich, Allianz Arena is probably one of the most futuristic-looking stadiums in the world. Bayern’s home ground can easily change the colors thanks to programable lights that cover the outer parts of the construction.
The stadium with a capacity of 70,000, opened in 2005. Since Germany was the 2006 World Cup host, Allianz Arena was one of the hosts during the competition. The stadium was a host to six games, one of them being the semi-final.
1. Wembley Stadium, London
The biggest stadium in England is a host to the English national soccer team. The stadium was renovated in 2007 on the same location where the original “old” Wembley was built back in 1923. Wembley boasts a quite unique look with its striking arch – 133 meters long to be more exact.
The stadium’s capacity is capped at around 90,000 and while there are many different sights to see in London, we believe that Wembley is probably one of the reasons why people should visit London as well.
With so many soccer clubs all over the world, it’s hard to compile a list of only 10 stadiums. Moreover, it’s quite difficult of a task to narrow down a specific list since plenty of other marvels of modern architecture had to be cut from the list. We believe that a mix of old and new is a testament to soccer as a sport with the longest tradition.