Man Utd to Barcelona: Football stadiums with the highest attendances in 2019

Barcelona v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg

Christmas and New Year are all about seeing football matches in the flesh.

Forget all the mega-money transfers, players with celebrity status and the glamorisation of big games, there's nothing better than seeing a match with your own two eyes in the festive season.

Football can sometimes feel like one big reality show, so it can be sobering to take a seat in the terraces - pie and beer optional - to remind yourself why you fell in love with the game.

And no matter what television companies decide to do with the Premier League in particular, you can guarantee that thousands of supporters will still brave the cold to watch it all in person.

So, now that 2019 is behind us, we can start to compile some of the statistics surrounding fan attendance at matches and the team at Transfermarkt have gone right for the jugular.

2019 stadium attendances

They've crunched the numbers to see which 16 football stadiums around the world attracted the biggest attendances last year, ranging from just shy of 70,000 to almost 100,000.

Intrigued? Of course you are, so check out our breakdown of the 16 arenas in question and see how they played host to some of the most-watched games of 2019.

16. Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho - 69,981

Match: Flamengo vs Gremio (October 24)

When you consider the football fanaticism in South America, their most attended game of 2019 - a Copa Libertadores semi-final - seems a little disappointing at under 70,000 fans.

Flamengo v Avai - Brasileirao Series A 2019

15. Gelora Bung Karno Stadium - 70,306

Match: Persija Jakarta vs. PSM Makassar (July 21)

It's great to see some massive crowds forming in Southeast Asia and the amazing thing about this year's Indonesian cup final is that there was still room for 18,000 more fans.

ASIAD-2018-PARAGAMES

14. Mercedes-Benz Stadium - 72,548

Match: Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy (August 3)

Think soccer fans are plastic across the pond? Think again, because MLS attendances are on the rise and the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was clearly a major attraction in Georgia.

Toronto FC v Atlanta United - Eastern Conference Finals

13. Estadio Azteca - 72,719 

Match: CF America vs. CF Monterrey (December 30)

Sneaking on to the list just a few days ago, the second leg of the league final in Mexico amassed a healthy attendance at one of football's most iconic stadiums.

America v Cruz Azul - Playoffs Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX

12. Cairo International Stadium - 74,100

Match: Several

Ordinarily, Egypt's flagship stadium wouldn't have made the list, but the arrival of the Africa Cup of Nations meant that it was sold out on more than one occasion.

FBL-AFR-2019-MATCH52-SEN-ALG

11. Old Trafford - 74,543

Match: Manchester United vs Watford (March 30)

That's right, United attracted more fans for this middle-of-the-road fixture than for clashes with Liverpool and Manchester City. Their average utilisation stands at 96.6% this season.

Manchester United v Everton FC - Premier League

10. Olympiastadion Berlin - 74,667

Match: Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund (March 16)

Hertha can barely fill out their oversized home, but they still managed to attract more fans for this Bundesliga clash than Bayern and RB Leipzig could manage for the 2019 DFB-Pokal Final.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-HERTHA BERLIN-LEIPZIG-30YEARS

9. Allianz Arena - 75,000

Match: Several

Just like another German club further down the list, Bayern seldom have a seat to spare and even expanding their capacity to 75,000 hasn't stopped the tickets flying off the shelf.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN MUNICH-HOFFENHEIM

8. San Siro - 77,749

Match: AC Milan vs Inter Milan (March 17)

What's the quickest way to fill up the San Siro? Pit its two residents against each other in one of football's most famous derbies. Duh.

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - Serie A

7. Stade de France - 78,000

Match: France vs Albania (September 7)

This iconic arena might only be used for international games and was never sold out during 2019, but 78,000 is nothing to be sniffed at when 66th-ranked Albania are the opposition. 

FBL-EURO-2020-QUALIFIER-FRA-ALB

6. Azadi Stadium - 80,000

Match: Several

The stadium of the Iranian titleholders Persepolis FC is rarely full to the rafters, but they managed it on two occasions during 2019 when Esteghlal and Sepahan made the trip.

Iran v Cambodia - FIFA World Cup Qualifier

5. Santiago Bernabeu - 80,472

Match: Real Madrid vs Barcelona (February 27)

The Bernabeu saw attendances plunge throughout last season and the only time more than 80,000 people passed through the gates was for 'El Clasico' in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

Real Madrid CF v Sevilla FC - La Liga

4. Signal Iduna Park - 81,365

Match: Several

Dortmund's supporters and match-day experience are the stuff of legend, so it should come as no surprise that the Westfalenstadion is sold out for almost every game it hosts.

Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Praha: Group F - UEFA Champions League

3. Wembley Stadium - 85,854 

Match: Manchester City vs Watford (May 18)

Just in case you think the magic of the FA Cup has been ebbing away in recent years, console yourself with the fact 2019's final was the most attended match at Wembley across 12 months.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final

2. FNB-Stadium - 88,000 

Match: Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates (November 9)

Soccer City, the host of the 2010 World Cup final, might not reach its capacity every weekend, but there's not a free seat in the house whenever the Soweto derby comes to town.

Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 - Show

1. Camp Nou - 98,299

Match: Barcelona vs Liverpool (May 1)

The nine highest-attended games of 2019 all belong to Barcelona and despite their Champions League semi-final taking the gold medal, they never actually sold out across the entire year.

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga

Superb global attendances

Football really is a global game.

Sure, some of the world's biggest teams - take Liverpool, for example - are limited by their stadium's capacities, but it still goes to show that star status isn't everything.

It's brilliant to see arenas in Africa, Asia and North America attracting the type of attendances that we've traditionally only expected in Europe and South America. 

Barcelona v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg

They might not sell out their stadiums as often as others, but it proves that all you need is the right match-up and occasion to get any community around the world interested in the sport.

No matter what happens to the beautiful game, the turnstiles will keep spinning wherever and whenever a ball is being kicked. You've got to love it.

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