The world is awash of famous soccer stadiums steeped in history. Stadiums are a major part of any sport and those that appear on this list have all had their special moments in the history of World Soccer. It is impossible to place them in any fair ranking order for each stadium listed here is world renowned on its own merits.
You will note the list contains the obvious candidates but it is still somewhat difficult to form such a list without inevitably leaving out some of the most famous soccer stadiums that are special to their respective fans. Apologies therefore to any fans whose favorite soccer stadium is not featured – but the ones listed are usually recognized as the very best!
Famous Soccer Stadiums
‘The Estadio Monumental’, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The ‘Estadio Monumental’ is home to Club ‘Atlético River Plate’, one of Argentina’s two most popular Soccer clubs. Known as one of the most important in South America with a capacity of 76,000, ‘El Monumental’ is the largest in Argentina. Moreover, it hosts the majority of the Argentine National side’s home international Soccer matches. The stadium opened in 1938 and was enlarged in 1978 when Argentina hosted (and won) the World Cup with a 3-1 win over Holland in the final.
River Plate stadium as it is more commonly known in English has one of the largest sports museums in the world. With over 3500 square meters of floor space, the museum details the history of the club and includes a 360º audio-visual spectacle at the famous soccer stadium.
‘La Bombonera’, Buenos Aires, Argentina
‘La Bombonera’ or the ‘Chocolate Box’ as it translates in English was built in 1940 with a capacity of 54,000. Home to Argentina’s other great club, Boca Juniors, the famous soccer stadium has some unique features:
- Notably that one side of the stadium is flat which is said to have increased acoustics and helped create one of the world’s best atmospheres for fans.
- Also for the lesser known fact, it is one of the few (if not the only) place in the world where the Coca Cola sign is not allowed to appear in its traditional ‘red and white’. Appearing instead in ‘black and white’ so as to not advertise the colors of bitter rivals River Plate.
‘La Bombonera’ also hosts the Argentine national side’s Soccer matches and was home to who many consider the GOAT – one ‘Diego Armando Maradona’, as both a player and coach.
‘Estadio Azteca’, Mexico City, Mexico
The Azteca Stadium as it’s known in English opened in 1966 and now has a capacity of 87,523 and is one of the worlds most famous soccer stadiums. The stadium is the home to the National team of Mexico. The Azteca is famous for a number of reasons:
Firstly, for playing host to two World Cup Finals
- The 1970 World Cup Final won by ‘Pele’s’ Brazil.
- The 1986 World Cup Final won by Diego Maradona’s Argentina.
In both instances, the venue was filled to capacity.
Secondly, The Azteca is notable for the number of private boxes it has for corporate clients – 856 in total. An amount of premium seating largely unsurpassed in soccer stadiums around the world.
‘Estadio Centenario’, Montevideo, Uruguay
The ‘Estadio Centenario’ is named after the 100th anniversary of the Uruguayan constitution. Built for the inaugural Soccer World Cup, it was the first place the famed ‘Jules Rimet’ trophy was ever lifted when Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the final.
With a current capacity of 60,235, the stadium is the home ground for the Uruguay National Soccer team and was once home to one of South America’s greatest clubs, Penarol.
Uniquely as the Estadio Centenario is not owned by a club, any club can rent the famous soccer stadium.
‘Stadio Giuseppe Meazza’, Milan, Italy
Known as the ‘San Siro’ the stadium is rather unique in that it is home to both the two great teams of the city of Milan: Inter Milan and AC Milan. Opened in 1926, the stadium has a current capacity of 80,018.
This venue has been host to a huge amount of Soccer history.
- It hosted three games at the 1934 FIFA World Cup
- Six games at the 1990 FIFA World Cup
- Three games at the 1980 UEFA European Championships
- And four European Cup finals in 1965 1970 2001 and 2016
It has also hosted numerous matches for the Italian National Soccer team.
‘Old Trafford’, Manchester, England
Old Trafford built in 1910 is also known as the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. Home to Manchester United, this iconic stadium has seen ‘George Best’ at his best as well as many other greats of the game. Old Trafford was also home to the famous “Busby Babes” and their legendary leader, Matt Busby.
It has a capacity of 75,000 spectators with the ‘die hard’ fans gathering in the famous Stretford End.
‘Anfield’, Liverpool, England
Anfield is home to one of the greatest club teams in English Soccer and European History. Built in 1884 and with a current capacity of 55,000, this stadium has seen some very memorable moments and successes which can be seen on their famed Champions wall.
This famous soccer stadium which is renowned for instilling fear into the opposition particularly when its passionate and vocal fans sing spine tingling renditions of its anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Anfield stadium will always remain one of the most Iconic stadiums in the annals of Soccer history.
‘Camp Nou’, Barcelona, Spain
‘Camp Nou’ or the ‘Nou Camp’ as is it often referred to in English is the home stadium of one of the giants of European soccer – FC Barcelona. Based in Catalonia, Spain, Camp Nou is the largest football stadium in Europe. Originally built in 1957, Camp Nou is undergoing a major reconstruction which will see its capacity rise to 105,000 and an almost space age structure emerge. An iconic stadium which has hosted the following:
- Two European Cup/Champions League finals in 1989 and 1999
- Two European Cup Winners Cup finals
- Four Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals
- Five UEFA Super Cup games; four Copa del Rey finals
- Two Copa de la Liga finals; and twenty-one Supercopa de España finals.
- It also hosted five matches in the 1982 FIFA World Cup including the opening games.
- Two out of four matches at the 1964 European Nations’ Cup.
- The 1992 Summer Olympics soccer tournament’s final.
Camp Nou as a stadium is simply European royalty! With one of the finest players of his or any other generation ‘Lionel Messi’ gracing its hallowed turf for over 21 years!
‘Santiago Bernabeu’, Madrid, Spain
The Santiago Bernabeu is home to ‘Los Merangues’ – Real Madrid. The stadium originally opened in 1947, and later was renamed after the club’s greatest president, Santiago Bernabeu Yeste. It currently has a capacity of 81,000 and this will remain even after its current renovation which is set to transform the stadium into the ‘best Soccer stadium in the World’ as per the official Real Madrid website, featuring amongst other a retractable roof.
Real Madrid is Soccer’s most successful European team with a record 13 European titles to their name. Moreover, it has seen the likes of some of the most legendary Soccer players ever such as Alfredo Di Stefano (whom their training ground is named after) and Ferenc Puskas to those of the famous ‘Galatico Era’ which saw star players signed in huge sums. Amongst them:
- Luís Figo – signed in 2000 for €60 million from Barcelona.
- Zinedine Zidane – signed in 2001 for €73.5 million from Juventus.
- Ronaldo – signed in 2002 for €45 million from Inter.
- David Beckham – signed in 2003 for €37.5 million from Manchester United.
Madrid’s place in the highest echelons of world Soccer is assured and there can be no more fitting Stadia at which to play for Real Madrid is a true Soccer giant.
To an extent whislt the Santiago is dwarfed by the Camp Nou’s capacity it is still the normal home of the Spanish National Soccer side.
‘Estádio Do Maracanã’, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
In 1950 Brazil’s most iconic stadium, the Estádio do Maracanã, opened in. The ‘Home’ to 4 teams including:
- Vasco Da Gama
The ‘Maracana’ is often argued to be the most famous stadium in Soccer history. Indeed just short of 200,000 fans witnessed the World Cup Final between Brazil and Uruguay in 1950. The same year it opened, the stadium hosted the 1950 World Cup final where bizarrely for Brazilians, they lost 2-1 in the final to Uruguay. This event nevertheless set a world record for the largest attendance at a Soccer stadium with exactly 199,854 fans in attendance – a record which remains to this day!
The stadium also bore witness to the legendary ‘Pele’ scoring his 1000th professional goal here.
Wembley Stadium, London, England
Quite simply, ‘Wembley’ in London, England is universally recognized as ‘the home of football’ or soccer as it’s known in the US. The current stadium is actually a new version of the original which was built in 1923 and famed for its ‘Twin Towers’. Sadly, these towers were lost in a total rebuild of the same site which was completed in 2007. The new Wembley, however, is famous for its own reasons; a giant 133 meter tall arch that serves as the main support structure for the sliding roof that sits 52 meters above the pitch.
Although the roof does not close completely, it does cover every seat in the stadium which makes Wembley the largest fully covered stadium in the world. Wembley amongst other is home to the English National Soccer side and the FA Cup and League Cup Finals which are played there. The most famous moment in its history occurred in 1966 when it played host to the World Cup Final and England defeated West Germany 4-2 to loft the ‘Jules Rimet’ trophy.
A fan and participator of more or less all sports up to University level from Burnley, England. I am now writing as a freelance sports journalist. My speciality in particular lies in global Football (soccer) – which I played to a semi-professional level.