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A Religion Called Football: Top 10 Football Stadiums in The World!

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Ask any football fan: a good stadium is as essential to the experience of a match as the teams themselves. The electrifying and powerful atmosphere they provide makes even dull games interesting, and great ones legendary.

That being said, what exactly makes a stadium “good”? We believe the sense of community it invokes is what sets it apart from the rest of the pack. As such, its identity, culture, location, and history are just as important as its capacity and facilities.

With these criteria in mind, here are our top ten picks for the finest stadiums around the world:

10. The Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro

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The Maracanã is among the most well-known football venues worldwide. Located in the scenic capital city of Brazil, the stadium is surrounded by sprawling beaches and rolling hills, and provides views of the awe-inspiring Redeemer statue. It has seen a number of historic events, which include the 1950 World Cup that saw 200,000 spectators (the highest ever for a football event), the 2014 Summer Olympics, and the 2014 World Cup.

Although it has begun to fall into disrepair, its sheer significance in football history easily puts it in the top 10 and makes it a must-see.

9. Allianz Arena, Munich

Allianz-Arena-Munich - Top 10 football stadiums
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The only stadium in the world with a colour changing exterior, Allianz Arena’s unique design ensures it stands out in the recent crop of new European stadiums. Its bright lights are visible from afar and change colour to indicate the hosting home team: red for FC Bayern, and blue for 1860 Munich.

Allianz largely replaced the old Olympiastadion in downtown Munich, trading its cramped atmosphere for an intimate setting. This came with a drawback, however: it is not centrally located and has little scenic beauty to offer. Either way, if not for anything else, the spectacular facade and architecture of the venue guarantee it is well worth the visit!

8. Old Trafford, Manchester

Old-Trafford-Manchester - Top 10 football stadiums
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Hosting everything from local matches and European leagues to both the FIFA and the Rugby World Cup, no list would be complete without mention of Old Trafford, home to Manchester United. It has been reconstructed at least five times, seeing much wartime destruction, and is over a hundred years old. Its red seats and relatively limited seating give the interior much character, unlike many newer sleek arenas.

In essence, Old Trafford exudes an atmosphere of warmth and amiability that is not to be missed out on.

7. Wembley Stadium, London

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Avid football enthusiasts were heartbroken when the original Wembley was demolished in 2003. But their grief was unnecessary, for the new construction brought back the glory while also upgrading facilities drastically.

The iconic twin towers of old Wembley have been replaced by the majestic Wembley Arch, which serves as an important aesthetic and architectural landmark for London. Home to the national football team, this arena has hosted numerous major games, including two Champions League finals. It is set smack in the middle of Wembley Park, a commercial suburban district.

Even though the charm of the original may never quite be replicated, Wembley still remains a formidable force in the football world.

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6. Westfalenstadion, Dortmund

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While the rest of the world bleeds red, Borussia Dortmund fans bleed a bright yellow as they lay claim to what is easily Europe’s most exciting stadium. Westfalenstadion is famed for the enthusiasm and intensity it harbours, and bears the distinctive architectural signature of tall yellow pylons that earned it the nickname “The Yellow Wall”. Never to be found empty, the venue boasts a daily average of 80,000 spectators every season!

Contrary to most other comparable stadiums, it borders a small town and is surrounded by much natural greenery. The neighbourhood is filled with lively bars and cafes that fans and tourists can enjoy, and the sight of beer and bratwurst being sold in the streets is quite commonplace.

5. Anfield, Liverpool, Amongst Must Visit Football Stadiums

Anfield-Liverpool - Top 10 football stadiums
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Devoted Liverpool FC supporters will claim that Anfield is undoubtedly the greatest stadium in all existence. While their love for the team is always over the top, they do have a point: the ancient stadium that was built in 1884 is small, but extremely powerful. It is impossible to be in its presence without feeling a transcendent energy radiating off of it.

There’s not much else to say except that Anfield is the very manifestation of the Liverpool’s identity: expressive, open and warm. Allez! Allez! Allez!

4. San Siro, Milan

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Notable for its unusually modern appearance, San Siro is actually among the oldest venues on this list. There’s much to be said about its matches, its cultural importance to both Milan and Italy, and its concrete beauty. But all you need to know about the close relationship the Milanese have with it comes from Paolo Maldini, one of the greatest defenders of all time:

“If you have the right personality, it helps you. But if you don’t, it can be very hard to play at San Siro.”

However, there have been recent talks of a possible demolition, so make sure you visit this one before it disappears.

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3. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City

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Perhaps Azteca will go down in history as the site that saw Diego Maradona score both the unforgettable “Hand of God” and the “The Goal of the Century”, changing football history forever. That event itself is enough to push it to the number three spot, but Estadio Azteca also has a buzzing, animated energy to it that is wholly unrivalled. Passionate fans will attest to this, and its vast capacity only guarantees this to be true in the future. The beautiful Mexican capital is truly incomplete without Azteca.

Possibly the greatest arena in the Southern Hemisphere, it was the first to host two World Cup finals.

2. Camp Nou, Barcelona

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If you haven’t already heard of it, you are probably about to form an army of 14-year-old footballers who’ll scream “MES QUE UN CLUB!”. Camp Nou houses FC Barcelona, by far the most widely supported club worldwide. Words simply do not exist for how important Camp Nou is: its training school has given birth to Messi, Neymar, Xavi and Neymar, four of the best players currently. The day that Nou perishes will be the darkest day for football.

Although not very attractive on the outside, Camp Nou has a stunning blue and red interior that more than makes up for it. And of course, Barcelona’s beauty is unparalleled.

1. Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, One of the Best Football Stadiums

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Nothing matches the prestige of Santiago Bernabéu. The name is synonymous with football royalty, having hosted every major tournament at least once. It is home to Real Madrid, the long-reining champions of European football. It has spawned some of the greatest all-time players, such as Ronaldinho, Zidane, and Ronaldo. It towers over even Camp Nou in acclaim, despite being smaller. Need we go on?

As if this wasn’t enough, Bernabeu is right in the heart of Madrid, a mere ten minutes from historic sites such as the El Retiro Park. Its simple yet elegant design inspires but also speaks to its momentous history. Regardless of which team you support, Bernabeu will offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never find elsewhere. ¡Hala Madrid!

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