Football, which was first played by the peasants and poor of England, now attracts million dollar sponsorship from businesses across the world. The game, which initially did not find any existence among the riches, has now become the game of the masses. People from different places across the world are not only interested in watching the game, but also are keen to participate in it. As a large number of people have taken interest in this sport, you can find multiple football clubs across the globe today. With the increasing popularity of the sports, many national teams have taken to this game. This, in turn, has fueled the need for proper grounds and infrastructure to practice the game. And that is the reason, you can find hundreds of football arenas in different parts of the world. If you are a football fan, and want to gather more knowledge about this sport, you can check out the list of top ten football stadiums. Selecting the top ten football stadiums is tricky as every arena has some specialty of its own.
1. Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa
FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, popularly known as the Soccer City, was selected as the venue for the FIFA World Cup, opening ceremony. The largest stadium of the country and the continent has the holding capacity of about 94,700 people. Though football fans will remember this stadium for the World Cup matches, it has a deeper history. During Nelson Mandela’s first visit to Johannesburg after his release from jail, this ground was selected for his speech.
2. Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Estadio de Maracana stadium in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil hosted the final match of FIFA World Cup 1950. The stadium, inaugurated for the 1950 World Cup, did not prove to be lucky for the home team, and they lost the final match against Uruguay. The stadium will be renovated for the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, and is expected to host a crowd nearing 75,000.
3. International Stadium Yokohama, Japan
The International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan hosted 2002 FIFA World Cup’s matches for the first three rounds. This stadium is expected to be popular among the Brazilian fans as their team won 2002 World Cup in this stadium. With 72,327 seats, this stadium boasts of providing more seating capacity than any other stadium in Japan.
4. The Stadde de France, France
Used by the French rugby team and national football squad, the Stadde de France has a seating capacity of eighty thousand. Number five stadium of Europe, in terms of seating capacity, witnessed France’s glorious victory in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The stadium has hosted different popular sports events, including the final match of Rugby World Cup.
5. San Siro, Milan, Italy
San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy is one of the oldest football stadiums in the world. The stadium, which has gone under multiple renovation works, provides seating capacity for 85,000 people. If you visit this stadium, you should not miss the memorabilia, and museum.
6. Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
The Estadio Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain is the home ground of the Real Madrid C.F. Owned by a club team, it is one of the most important football venues and has hosted major football championships. In 2010, the stadium has been selected as the venue for the final match of UEFA Champions League.
7. Yuvabharati Krirangan, Kolkata, India
Yuvabharati Krirangan in Kolkata, India is a multipurpose stadium mainly used for football matches. It is the largest of all stadiums in Indian sub-continent. It also holds the second spot among non-auto racing arenas of the world. The stadium, which mostly hosts the matches between Indian club teams, can play host to about 120,000 people.
8. Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Iran
Located in Tehran, the national stadium of the country, Azadi stadium is the largest football arena of Iran, and can hold 100,000 people. It is the fourth largest football association stadium across the globe. Inaugurated for the 1974 Asian Games, the stadium is now a major football venue.
9. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico occupies a special place in the heart of the football fans. It is the stadium where Pele played his last international game, and led the Brazilian squad to a World Cup victory with 4 to 1 goals against Italy. Few years after, in 1986, Diego Maradona exhibited a remarkable performance in this stadium, and secured World Cup victory against Germany.
10. Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain
Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain is known to be the largest soccer stadium in Europe and has a capacity of holding around 99,354 seats. It has hosted some of the most important athletic events including the final match of the UEFA Champions League.