The Holy turf on which many greats of soccer have flourished, Cryuff, Maradona, Kubala, Figo, Ronaldinho, Messi. The majestic pitch which stands the witness to some of the most beautiful soccer games played across history. The stage for the stars of tomorrow. A symbol of Catalan pride and a monument of worship for true soccer fans across the world. All these phrases fall short of fully describing what the Camp Nou actually is!
Meaning the ‘New Stadium’ in English, Camp Nou is the stadium located in Barcelona Spain and is the official home of the soccer club Barcelona. This magnificent stadium prides itself as the largest stadium in the entirety of Europe.
Soccer club Barcelona has been playing in this stadium since the year 1957. During the 1950’s a legendary soccer player, Laszlo Kubala was known for weaving magic on soccer pitches. Barcelona signed Kubala in the year 1950 and owing to the popularity which Kubala brought along with him, Barcelona soccer club felt the need to move to a new larger stadium leaving Camp de Les Corts, their previous home stadium. And thus the construction of the Camp Nou started in the year 1954 under the pious and Holy blessings of the then Archbishop of Barcelona. It was high budget project and the stadium was finally declared open for games on the 24th of September, 1957.
The inauguration of the stadium was followed by a friendly match between FC Barcelona and the Polish club Legia Warsaw, a game which was won by the Catalan side by a score of 4-2.
The stadium was remarked for its impressive structure and every credit goes to the brilliant architectural minds of the trio of Mitjans, Soteras and Garcia-Barbon, who were the crucial members of the architectural team.
Across its 67 years of history, this stadium has been the centre stage of several major soccer events as well as international sports. In the year 1972, the Camp Nou hosted its first ever European final played between Dynamo Moscow and Rangers a game which ended 3-2 in favor of Rangers. The Camp Nou has been the venue for several matches in the 1982 World Cup in Spain and was the venue of the inauguration ceremony too.
The Catalan national team considers this stadium as its home stadium and hosts its international matches in this venue. The club hosted the European final of 1989 which saw Milan beat Steaua Bucuresti by a score of 4-0.
This venue was also the host for the Champions League finale of 1999 in which Manchester United beat Bayern Munchen 2-1 in what is still considered as a dramatic finale.
Apart from soccer events, the Stadium was a key part of the 1992 summer Olympics hosting the several matches of the soccer events in it and also the finale of the soccer event.
The stadium has undergone tremendous development since its creation half a century back. Electronic scoreboards were installed in the stadium in the year 1975. The hosting of the 1982 World cup was already anticipated and the stadium was subjected to expansion in order to accommodate a large crowd for the event. The capacity of the stadium was raised by 80000 following the development project and VIP lounges, press area and new boxes were installed. The Stadium originally had the capacity of 106,146 and following this development it was now 121,749.
For the summer Olympics of 1992, two additional tiers of seating were added to the stadium roof-line. In order to provide a glimpse of the stadiums past to its visitors, the club Museum was opened in the year 1984.
Even the pitch of the stadium has undergone a facelift in 1994, which resulted in the lowering of the pitch by two and a half feet.
The stadium has been honored by UEFA in 1999 as it was rated five-star for the services it provided to the people and its functionalities.
The stadium also has been known by several different names across its history. Originally it was created with the name of Estadio del CF Barcelona, it was lovingly called as the Camp Nou in Catalonya. However in the new century owing to a public poll the stadiums official name was made Camp Nou itself.
After completing 50 glorious years at the venue, the club Barcelona decided to remodel the stadium through a multi-billion project. But owing to financial frailties and the demanding price of Real Estate, the idea has been postponed to the year 2017. In the near future the home of soccer club Barcelona is planned to be turned into a magnificent modern soccer temple and will be ranking among the top stadiums in the world in terms of capacity and revolutionary architecture.
As the club to which it belongs claims loudly that it is ‘Mes Que En Club’ meaning ‘More than a club’ this historic venue too rightly boasts a slogan that it is ‘more than just a stadium’.