With the injections of money that clubs and countries have, a marvellous stadium isn't particularly difficult to acquire.
However, is the architectural aspect of these stadiums the only basis of which one selects their favourite?
I think not. The main features you have to take into account: the capacity and the atmosphere.
Also it depends on whether the stadium is used for a domestic club or a national team, or both, as the fan-base contributes massively to the atmosphere, which can alter the entire experience of a football visit.
5. Westfalenstadion (Signal Iduna Park) - Borussia Dortmund
One of my real personal favourites, mainly due to the exceptional fan spirit. It can take a maximum of 80,720 for league matches, and 65,718 for international (despite the Olympic stadium in Berlin being the recognised national stadium).
The atmosphere is said to be one of the best around due to the fantastic support the club receive week-in week-out from their 'die hard' fans. They exhibit sensational support by arriving in the masses, chanting until their lungs give out, and just simply supporting their team with genuine desire for them to succeed.
However, they do have one major downfall which results in them toppling from my list, the regular and irritant flares they lob onto the pitch, delaying the match. They also light smoke grenades which hinder vision for another supporter. Although many perceive this as support, is it really? Perhaps it is more tedious than supportive.
4. San Siro - AC Milan & Internazionale
Aptly nicknamed the "Scala" of football, which displays the Stadium sole interest in football. As it possesses two tenants (AC and Inter) it is one of a minority of Italian stadiums built for a single sport: the two levels of viewing tiers evolve into three once they reach the stands behind the goal. The support of both clubs is immense and the atmosphere is brilliant. The structure erected was revolved around visibility for each of the maximum of 80,000 occupants as was the intricate light system.
However, the playing surface isn't the best. There have been some attempts to rectify this, but there are still plenty better.
3. Maracana (Fluminese & Flamengo, & Brazil)
The first time the stadium was used internationally, was when the 1950 world cup was hosted there and a world record of 199,000+ people attended the match between Brazil and Uruguay. The stadium is absolutely colossal and the playing surface is exceptional. The support of the Brazilians is so vocally loud, that for the 2014 World Cup, they have been put on a warning which involves anyone being to loud ejected from the stadium.
2. Stadio Olimpico (Roma & Lazio)
The main feature of this stadium is the history of it. Upon entrance one feels privileged to be in the presence of an area where some of the most sensational footballing spectacles of our generation occurred.
Its initial purpose was for the 1960 olympic games but has been used for the 1990 world cup final, which meant that the Italians renovated their stadium, whilst making a spectacular addition of a translucent roof which enabled natural light to enter and to preserve the stadium from whatever weather conditions. The UEFA Champions League final has been played here on three occasions, including the tenants: AS Roma's soul cursing defeat to Liverpool in 1984, in which the trophy eluded them via penalty kicks.
1. International Stadium, Yokohoma, Japan
2002 marked the first time an Asian nation hosted the World Cup and when joint hosts held the competition. Although, Japan were not ecstatic at the prospect of sharing the cup with South-Korea, they were certainly enthused to accommodate the final on June the 30th, 2002.
The Stadium is the most modern and high-tech stadium on the planet, and its prize possession of this slick stadium is the pitch itself. Although indoor in the heart of the second largest city in Japan, the grass is natural and tended to year round by an experienced team of groundskeepers and by two genuinely devised hot water pipes. There is a movable roof and two massive replay screens at either ends of the pitch. The stadium is home to a wonderful collection of 824 lights, arranged very cunningly to destroy the aspects of shadows.
This stadium seats a total of 70,000 very lucky people who get to experience this fantastic piece of footballing architecture. Its just a shame that you don't see any of the world's top clubs.
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