The stadium – Camp Nou
Name: Defensores del Chaco
Address: Avenida Aristides Maillol s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Last renovation: 1999
No. of seats: 95,870
VIP boxes: 2,900
Home team: Barcelona
Camp Nou – Europe’s largest arena turns 50
Camp Nou, Barcelona’s legendary stadium, is 50 years old this year. Ever since the stadium was inaugurated on 24 September 1957, fans of the club have had the privilege of witnessing the talents of the great players who have worn Barcelona’s blue and red shirt, such as Ladislao Kubala, Luis Suarez, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.
For the past 50 years, the stadium’s announcer, Manel Vich, has used the same phrase, “Good afternoon and welcome to the stadium”, to greet the club’s fans at each mach. “At this stadium I have seen all the world’s best players in a Barcelona shirt except Pele and Di Stefano,” says Vich. Di Stefano visited the Camp Nou with Real Madrid on many an occasion and Pele also played there for Santos on 28 June 1959 in a match in which the Brazilians gave Barcelona a real lesson in football, beating them 5-1.
Following its inauguration in 1957m the size of the Camp Nou (“New Stadium” in Catalan) peaked at 120,000 as a result of its renovation for the 1982 FIFA World Cup TM and still boasts a 100,000 capacity following its most recent remodeling in 1999. Prior to moving to the Camp Nou, Barcelona played at Les Corts stadium, which was opened in 1922 and despite having a 60,000 capacity, had become too small to accommodate the steadily increasing legion of Barcelona fans.
288 million pesetas
Although the stadium was initially named Estadi del FC Barcelona (“Stadium of FC Barcelona” in Catalan), it quickly became popularly known as the Camp Nou due to the fact that it had replaced the old Les Corts stadium and was located in the same district.
In the 2000-01 season, the name Camp Nou became official as a result of a postal survey among the club’s members. Of the 29,102 responses mailed to the club, 19,861 (68.25%) voted to change the name from Estadi del FC Barcelona to Camp Nou.
The stadium’s history began on 28 March 1954 when the first stone of the new arena was laid in front of 60,000 fans. The contract to build the Camp Nou was awarded to the architects Fransesc Mitjans Miro and Josep Soteras Mauri and the total cost of 288 million pesetas (GBP 925,000) left the club in debt for a few years.
On 24 September 1957, the day of the city’s patroness, Our Lady of Mercy, the Camp Nou was inaugurated with a friendly match between FC Barcelona and Legia Warsaw of Poland, which ended in a 4-2 victory for the home side. Eulogio Martinez scored the first goal in the stadium’s history in the 11th minute.
The Camp Nou is also home to the club’s museum, the most visited in Catalonia and the sixth most visited in Europe. Other features include a free crèche for members, which opens a few hours before kick-off and provides a professional childcare during matches. Right next to the Camp Nou is the 16,000-capacity Mini Estadi, Barcelona’s second stadium where the club’s lower-league teams play their matches.
Before making the Camp Nou their home, Barcelona played at various stadiums. The first was the Velodromo de la Bonanova, where the club played its first match on 8 December 1899. Then, in 1901, the club moved to the Estadio Casanova, where it remained until 1901 when it departed for the Estadio de Horta, the venue of Barcelona’s home matches until 1905. The club was subsequently based at the Campo de Muntaner from 1905 to 1909 before moving to the first stadium it actually owned, the Estadio de la Industria, which hosted its first Barcelona match on 14 March 1909. This was followed by the club’s relocation to the 25,000-capacity Estadio de Les Corts in 1922, which was later enlarged to accommodate 60,000.
Although there are no plans to move from the Camp Nou after fifty years, another renovation process is already under way. A total of 78 architects, including some of the best known in the world, have submitted their projects for refurbishing the stadium. The club’s idea is to increase the capacity to 115,000, while respecting the essential features of the original 1957 structure and covering more than 50% of the stands.