Fc Barcelona's Camp Nou

More Than a Stadium!

Camp Nou has been the FC Barcelona stadium since 1957 and with a capacity for 99,354, it is not only the largest football ground in Europe but is also a UEFA 5-star rated stadium.

Officially, the stadium was originally called Estadi del FC Barcelona but it was always popularly known as Camp Nou, literally New Field, and the popular name was made official in the 2000-01 season.

The pitch dimensions are an ample 105 by 68 metres and this enormous stadium occupies an area of 55,000 square metres in total.

The atmosphere at Camp Nou, when Barça are on form, which is more often than not, is electric so it's really worth getting a ticket to see a match.

Alternatively, taking the FC Barcelona Museum and Stadium tour is a great way of seeing the magnitude of both the stadium and the history of the club as well as having a great day out with the family.



Getting to Camp Nou

Camp Nou
Avinguda Arístides Maillol, 12
08028 Barcelona

Website:
www.fcbarcelona.com

Metro Maria Cristina - Green L3 Line, Metro Collblanc - Blue L5 Line



A Brief History of Camp Nou

The Birth of a Giant

With the arrival of Ladislau Kubala in 1950, the growth of the club became unstoppable, especially after the famous Barça of the Five Cups season of 1952-53.

Despite a capacity for 60,000 spectators, Barça, then officially CF Barcelona, was outgrowing the old Camp de les Corts and on November 14th 1950, the Assembly of Delegates agreed to acquire land in the District of Les Corts at the far end of Travessera de le Corts, close to the cemetery and the Maternitat hospital with the purpose of building a new ground.

The actual purchase of the land had to wait until the arrival of new club president Francesc Miró-Sans in 1953 and the first stone of the stadium was laid on March 29th 1954, when a procession of 60,000 supporters made their to La Masia de Can Planes to witness the symbolic act.

The architects responsible for the project were Francesc Mitjans i Miró, cousin of President Miró-Sans, and Josep Soteras Mauri and the actual building work was undertaken by Ingar SA.

At 288 million pesetas, the estimated cost of the construction work soon quadrupled and, as a result of mortgages and loans, the club would end up in debt for more than a decade.

Finally, Camp Nou opened on September 24th 1957, the Dia de la Mercè, patron saint of Barcelona, in a ceremony that was attended by dignitaries of the Franco regime and a crowd of more than 90,000 people.

As you can see in the video below, clubs from all over Catalonia as well as penyas and the club's other sports sections participated in the event and massive sardana dances were the organised on the pitch.

In the opening friendly game, a Barça side with a starting line-up of Ramallets, Olivella, Brugué, Segarra, Viats, Gensana, Basora, Villaverde, Eulogio Martínez, Kubala and Tejada beat the Polish team Warsaw FC 4-2.



The Early Years

Under coach Helenio Herrera, sporting success wasn't long in coming and Barça won La Liga in the 1958-59 and 1959-60 and the European Fairs Cup in 1958 and 1960.

Camp Nou's revolutionary floodlighting system was first used on September 23rd 1959 in a game against CDNA Sofia.

The 1960s were a particularly bleak period for CF Barcelona with the club only winning three titles throughout the whole decade.

On June 23rd 1963, Barça won the Copa del Generalísimo at Camp Nou by beating Zaragoza 3-1, in 1966 the club won its third Fairs Cup and on July 11th 1968, Barça won a second Copa del Generalísimo by beating Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéu.

In 1970, Camp Nou was the scene of the Copa del Generalísimo between Real Madrid and Valencia.

The 1970s

On May 24th 1972, Camp Nou was the venue for the European Cup Winners' Cup Final in which Glasgow Rangers beat Moscow Dynamo 3-2.

At the time the Barça side was under construction but when Johan Cruyff signed for the club in 1973 to join a forward line made up of  Rexach, Asensi, Sotil and Marcial, success returned once again.

In 1974, Barça celebrated 75 years of existence and for the occasion, as the Franco regime entered its death throes, the club commissioned a new anthem El Cant del Barça sung completely in Catalan.

The first performance was by a 3,500-voice choir before a friendly against East Germany, which Barcelona won 2-1.

A few months earlier the club had won its first Liga in 15 years and the club was back at the top.

Over the next few years, Camp Nou facilities were improved with the building of an ice-skating rink, the Mini Estadi, which opened in 1982, and the installation of an electronic scoreboard in 1975.

The Copa del Rey of 1978 followed by the European Cup Winners' Cup against Basel in 1979 really put FC Barcelona back on the world stage.

1982 World Cup

In preparation for the 1982 World Cup, the stadium was given a complete overhaul with the inclusion VIP boxes and facilities, a new press room, new scoreboards and an increased capacity on the stands for 22,150 spectators take the total up to a massive 115,000.

The first important game at the remodeled stadium was the 1982 European Cup Winners' Cup Final in which FC Barcelona beat Standard Liege 2-1 in front of a crowd of 100,000.

A similar number attended the opening ceremony of the 1982 World Cup and the match between Argentina and Belgium, which Kempes and Maradona's side lost 1-0.

During the rest of the competition, Camp Nou was the venue for three more Group A games - Poland-Belgium, June 28th (3-0), Belgium-USSR, July 1st (0-1) and USSR-Poland, July 4th (0-0).

The semi-final between Poland and Italy was also at Camp Nou on July 8th and the Squadra Azzurra of Zoff, Bergomi, Scirea, Cabrini, Antognoni, Tardelli and Paolo Rossi won 2-0, which took them to the final in Madrid in which they beat Germany 3-1.

The Dream Team

Apart from the opening of the FC Barcelona Museum in 1984, there were few major changes throughout the 1980s.

Camp Nou, did become the scene for concerts, such as Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, U2, Julio Iglesias, The Three Tenors, or the Amnesty International concert as well as hosting a mass given by Pope John Paul II.

In 1989, it hosted the European Cup final which AC Milan won 4-0 against Steau Bucharest, and in 1992 Camp Nou was the scene of the football competition in the Barcelona Olympic Games, in which Spain with Barça players Guardiola and Ferrer beat Poland 3-2 to win the final.

This was also the period of Johan Cruyff's Dream Team, which saw Barça win La Liga on four consecutive occasions (1991-1994) as well as the European Cup against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992 and the European Supercup the same year.

In 1994, the playing area was lowered 2.5 metres, the security moat between the crowd and the pitch was removed and all the benches were replaced with individual seats.

A new press box was built as well as new presidential box and VIP areas along with extra car parking facilities and a new sound and lighting system was added during 1998-99.

In 1999, as part of the FC Barcelona centenary celebrations, the stadium hosted the Champions League final in which Manchester United beat Bayern Munich 2-1 as well as a friendly game between Barça and Brazil.

It has also hosted Catalonia national team matches against many other national teams, including Brazil and Argentina.

Present and Future

Camp Nou currently has a capacity for 98,934 spectators, making it Europe's largest stadium, and it is also one of the few 5-star UEFA rated stadiums.

In 2007, the FC Barcelona board under Joan Laporta commissioned designs for a renovation of the stadium by architect Norman Foster, which were later abandoned by successor Sandro Rosell in 2010.

In January 2014, Barcelona's board of directors under Josep Maria Bartomeu rejected the option of building a new stadium and will instead remodel the Camp Nou to bring the capacity up to 105,000.

The project is expected to cost around £495 million (€600 million) with work beginning in 2017 with a completion date of early 2021.

Visiting Camp Nou

Obviously, if your Barcelona trip coincides with an FC Barcelona home game you shouldn't miss the opportunity to take in the experience.

Apart from matches against Real Madrid or the later stages of the Champions League, it is generally fairly easy to get seats and you can order FC Barcelona tickets online through Atrapalo (in Spanish).

Whether or not you manage to get a game in, I also strongly recommend the FC Barcelona Museum and Stadium Tour, which as you can see from the video is not only an insight into the history of FC Barcelona but also a great day out for all the family.





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