The Camp Nou is the stadium where FC Barcelona plays, in the Barcelona district of La Maternitat and Sant Ramon, in the district of Les Corts. The height of the stadium is forty-eight meters and occupies a total area of fifty-five thousand square meters. It was inaugurated on September 24 of 1957 the official name of ‘Estadi del FC Barcelona, but was popularly renamed Camp Nou due to replace the old Les Corts. It has the highest rating (5 stars) that FIFA can give to a stadium to host football matches.
With a seating capacity of 99,354, it is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe, and the fourth largest football stadium in the world in capacity. It has hosted two European Cup/Champions League finals in 1989 and 1999, two European Cup Winners’ Cup finals, four Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final games, 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 game, two out of four matches at the 1964 European Nations’ Cup, and the football tournament’s final at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
The Camp Nou is located in the district of Les Corts, on a plot delimited by Carrer Arístides Maillol, Avinguda Joan XXIII, Travessera de les Corts and Carrer Maternitat. The main access is located at 6-18 Arístides Maillol Street. It is a football stadium around which there are several associated facilities, both sports and services, belonging to the Futbol Club Barcelona.
Although this stadium, the largest in Europe, has undergone several reforms, both inside and outside, it retains the essential characteristics established in its initial project. Its original structure is maintained, made up of columns on the perimeter of the stadium from which the stands are supported, which, like these, are made of formwork reinforced concrete, used here in a pioneering way in Barcelona. The external ramps, at the same time as they allow a rational circulation towards the access to the bleachers and an immediate evacuation, break the verticality of the set. It is necessary to emphasize the cover of the tribune, a counterbalanced canopy of 40 meters of cantilever, hung by braces (overlaps of double lattice crossed in the vertical plane) and supported by the porticos of the general structure of the stands. With this project, this technological resource and the use of reinforced concrete were used for the first time in the city of Barcelona.
Among the facilities and outbuildings inside the stadium are a small chapel next to the changing rooms, the boxes, the VIP room, the press room, various television sets, the press booths, the technical services offices, the Sports Medicine Center, the Operational Control Unit (UCO), the premises of the group of former players, the FC Barcelona museum, the Nursery and offices of various departments of the club.
In the last renovations, a whole exterior semicircular glass facing was built in the grandstand area. The stadium has a maximum height of 48 meters and an area of 55,000 square meters (250 meters long and 220 wide). According to UEFA regulations, the pitch is 105 meters x 68 meters.
The Camp Nou was designed with the idea that it could be expanded. In 1957 there were 93,053 spectators, but it was expected that with an extension in the form of a third tier it would amount to 150,000 seats. This reform took place in 1982, coinciding with the celebration of the World Cup, but the capacity remained at 120,000 people. For the construction of the third tier, the same construction technique was used, fully integrated into the original work, although it was combined with the use of prefabricated beams. In addition, as part of the reforms to improve and increase the capacity of the stadium, the moat was removed and the level of the playing field was lowered to expand the first tier. Subsequently, in application of the regulations that required the elimination of standing places, the capacity stood, at the end of the 90s, in 99,354 spectators. Yet it is the most capable stadium in all of Europe and one of the largest in the world.
At the time of its construction it stood out for the audacity and solutions chosen, for giving a unique treatment to the volume and for the characteristics of the grandstand area, with a forty-meter-long roof suspended in the air and the shape helical of the stands, that grant good visibility to all the localities.
With the arrival of Ladislau Kubala in 1950, Barça experienced its greatest growth, winning all the trophies imaginable between 1951 and 1953 at its old Camp de les Corts, including the five cups of the 1951 season. -52. Barça can no longer settle for this uncomfortable and quite old field, despite its capacity for 60,000 people, and the club has to move.
On November 14 of 1950 the president Agustí Montal Galobart received a favorable agreement Assembly delegates to acquire land for the construction of a new stadium, located in Hospitalet de Llobregat and later they exchanged with the City Council of Barcelona for other lands in the neighborhood of Les Corts. The stadium is located at the end of the Travessera de les Corts, close to the Cemetery and the Maternity Hospital. Despite this, the commission dedicated to the project recommended another place in February 1951. The official purchase was postponed for another two years.
The appointment of Francesc Miró-Sans as president of FC Barcelona on November 14, 1953, relaunched the project. Invested in February of the following year, Miró-Sans decided in favor of the land acquired in 1950, and the first stone of the stadium was laid on March 28, 1954. A procession of 60,000 people made the journey from the Camp de Les Corts to La Masia de Can Planes, in the shadow of which the ceremony of laying the first stone was celebrated, covered with solemnity. with the presence of Miró-Sans, the head of the Civil Government of Barcelona and the Archbishop of Barcelona, Gregorio Modrego, who blessed the place.
After this symbolic stage, the conception of the stadium was entrusted to the architects Francesc Mitjans i Miró, cousin of the president Miró-Sans, and Josep Soteras Mauri, with the collaboration of Lorenzo García-Barbón. The project was completed a year later, when the club entrusted the construction to the building company Ingar SA. The work was to last eighteen months, but the expenses exceeded the forecasts by more than four times to 288 million pesetas. Through mortgages and loans the club managed to finish the project, borrowing heavily for several years. The club hoped to cover the cost of selling the land in the Les Corts field, but Barcelona City Council took ten years to reclassify it, leading to a period of some economic scarcity, until finally the head of State and Spanish government at the time, the dictator Francisco Franco, authorized the reclassification of the lands of the Cortes and ended the crisis of the Barcelona entity.In the course of the works at the Camp Nou, La Masia served as a model making workshop and workplace for architects and builders.
Finally, on September 24 of 1957, the Feast of La Merced, inaugurated the Camp Nou. A solemn Mass presided by the Archbishop, who blessed the stage finish, preceded the Hallelujah from Messiah by Handel. Dignitaries of the Franco regime and the city gathered in the presidential gallery, and about 90,000 people attended the opening ceremony, in the stands of the huge stadium. During the event, football clubs from all over Catalonia paraded on the grass, as well as members of the different sections of Barça, the supporters clubs, and the different teams of FC Barcelona.
In the opening match, Barça, with Ramallets, Olivella, Brugué, Segarra, Viats, Gensana, Basora, Villaverde, Eulogio Martínez, Kubala and Tejada, will face a selection of players from Warsaw. In the second half the team presented Ramallets, Segarra, Brugué, Gràcia, Flotats, Bosch, Hermes, Ribelles, Tejada, Sampedro and Evaristo. Barça got their first victory at the stadium by 4 to 2 (Eulogio Martínez was the author of the first goal).
The first successes
The official capacity of the Camp Nou, when it opens, is 93,053 spectators, with a plot of 107x72m. The steel and concrete building allows Barça to enter modern football on its own two feet. With coach Helenio Herrera, the club won the championship in 1958-59 and 1959-60, and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup of 1958, and again in 1960. The lighting system was inaugurated on September 23, 1959, in a European Cup match against CDNA Sofia.
The sixties are less happy for Barça, who only win three titles. 23 of June of 1963, the Camp Nou is spectator of the victory in the glass of Spain when defeating Saragossa by 3 to 1 with goals of Pereda, Kocsis and Zaldúa. In 1966, Barça won the Fairs Cup for the third time. Finally, on July 11, 1968, Barça beat Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup, but this time at the home of their eternal rival. In 1970 the Camp Nou is home, again, to the Cup final, but this time without a blue-and-red presence.
The return to the summit
On May 24, 1972, the Camp Nou attended its first European Cup Winners’ Cup final (Glasgow Rangers 3, Moscow Dynamo 2). FC Barcelona is then under construction, which ends in 1973, with the signing by the club of Johan Cruyff, who joins the attack with Rexach, Asensi, Sotil and Marcial. In 1974Barça celebrates its 75th anniversary. For the occasion, while Spain is slowly emerging from the Franco era, a new anthem is sung in Catalan by a choir of 3,500 voices, before Barça face in a friendly match with the national team from East Germany whom he defeated 2 to 1. A few months earlier, Barça had just won the League. It is the return to the world first plan of the club.
FC Barcelona then concentrated on its infrastructure, building a skating rink and a Mini Stadium for reservations and ancillary activities (opened in 1982), and installing electronic markers on the field in 1975. The 1978 Spanish Cup, and especially the Recopa, won in Basel in 1979, in front of 58,000 spectators (of which approximately 30,000 were Barça fans!), as well as two more cups (1981, 1983) continue to enlarge the club’s windows.
The World Cup 1982
The stadium is undergoing a refurbishment to host the 1982 World Cup. Boxes, VIP rooms, a new press room, new markers, and, above all, the expansion of the third tier with the addition of 22,150 more seats, for a total capacity of 115,000 spectators. The first important match played is a new final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, precisely with Barça as the protagonist, against Standard de Liège, on May 12, 1982, with a local victory by 2 to 1 in front of 100,000 people. The Camp Nou is a cry.
Finally, on June 13, the World Cup opens at the Camp Nou. 100,000 people attend the opening ceremony, and the match between Argentina and Belgium, which sees the team of Maradona and Kempes lose 1-0. The rest of the competition allows the Camp Nou to host three Group A matches of the second round: Poland – Belgium, June 28 (3-0), Belgium – USSR, July 1 (0-1) and USSR – Poland, July 4 (0-0). Poland of Lato and Boniek therefore qualifies for a semifinal that will face it in Italy, and again at the Camp Nou, on July 8. But the Squadra Azzurra of Zoff, Bergomi, Scirea, Cabrini, Antognoni, Tardelli and, above all, Paolo Rossi in full form, he defeated the Poles (2-0) leading them straight to the title.
Cruyff’s “dream team”
The stadium underwent few changes after 1982, except for the inauguration of the museum (1984). Apart from football matches, the stadium is home to great musical concerts (Lluís Llach, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, U2, Julio Iglesias, Els Tres Tenors, or the Amnesty International concert are some examples). In terms of sport, the European Cup final between AC Milan and Steaua Bucharest was played on 24 May 1989 with an Italian victory of 4 to 0. In 1992within the Barcelona Olympic Games, the Camp Nou receives part of the football competition, including the final. Spain beat Poland 3-2 with the blue-and-red Ferrer and Guardiola in the team. It is the time of Johan Cruyff ‘s dream team, with which the club won 4 leagues in a row and the Wembley European Cup in 1992, as well as the European Super Cup.
The Camp Nou experienced a facelift in 1993-94. The ground is lowered 2.5 meters. The safety pit that separated the lawn from the grandstands is removed and new individual seats are added so that the standing seats disappear. A new press gallery, as well as the renovation of the presidential grandstand and the boxes, new car parks under the main grandstand and new lighting and sound systems have just completed the stadium around 1998-99. The Camp Nou is one of the most beautiful jewels of European football and one of the few to have received the five UEFA stars.
The last major event has been the stage is the final of the Champions League the year 1999, with a vibrant clash on May 26 between Manchester United and Bayern Munich, which allowed the English to win the competition (2-1). The match was part of the club’s centenary ceremonies, which lasted several months, and included the friendly match between FC Barcelona and the Brazilian national team on April 28. In addition, the field has been the scene of several matches of the Catalan national team, highlighting the unforgettable clashes with Brazil or Argentina.
The board of directors of Joan Laporta convened an international competition to carry out a new remodeling that would expand the capacity of the field by 15,000 seats, reaching 113,000 seats. The works would consist of raising the grandstand area to level it with the rest of the stadium. In turn, investments would also be made to achieve a safer and more comfortable Camp Nou. After a Jury made up of Barcelona City Council, the College of Architects and the Club itself chose 10 finalist projects from the 79 submitted, on September 18, 2007 it was reported to the public that the winner had been the project of the team of British architect Norman Foster. A few days later, on September 22, the model of the winning project was presented in public and coinciding with the stadium’s 50th anniversary party.
Subsequently, in 2010 Sandro Rosell expressed his desire to reform the Camp Nou, but ruled out Norman Foster’s project.
On March 8, 2016, the Japanese company Nikken Sekkei wins the tender for the renovation of the stadium. The work will last until 2021.
Renovation and expansion
The club issued an international tender to remodel the stadium as a celebration of the stadium’s fiftieth anniversary. The objective was to make the facility an integrated and highly visible urban environment. The club sought to increase the seating capacity by 13,500, with at least half of the total seating to be under cover. The intention was to make it the third-largest stadium in the world in terms of seating capacity, after the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in North Korea (114,000 capacity) and the Motera cricket stadium in India (110,000 capacity).
On 18 September 2007, the British architect Norman Foster and his company were selected to “restructure” Camp Nou. The plan included the addition of roughly 6,000 seats, for a maximum capacity of 105,000, at an estimated cost of €250 million. The FC Barcelona board approved the sale of their former training ground (the Mini Estadi) against significant opposition in order to finance the remodeling. The project was planned to begin in 2009 and to be finished for the 2011–12 season. However, due to the 2008 financial crisis the sale of the training ground was postponed and likewise the remodeling project. In May 2010, Sandro Rosell, then a candidate for president of FC Barcelona, dismissed the possibility of selling the Mini Estadi, saying it would be indefensible to “sell the crown jewels”, and his election on 30 June 2010 effectively halted the plan to remodel Camp Nou.
In January 2014, Barcelona’s board of directors rejected the option of building a new stadium due to financial constraints and instead opted to remodel the Camp Nou to bring the capacity up to 105,000. The project is expected to run from 2017 to early 2021, with a cost of around £495 million (€600 million), making it one of the most expensive expansions on a per-seat basis. A refined plan was released in May 2015 showing plans to add a canopy over the stands and showing the plans for seating expansion in greater detail. Construction is currently planned to begin in summer 2020 and to be complete in 2024.
The Camp Nou has undergone various renovations. The first took place in 1981, when the stadium was expanded to celebrate the ’82 World Cup that was played in Spain. The capacity of the stadium then stood at 120,000 spectators. The second remodeling took place in 1994, to bring it into line with UEFA regulations, which requires all seats to be seats. This forced the level of the pitch to be lowered so that, with the disappearance of the walking areas, the stadium would lose as few seats as possible. The capacity stood at the current 99,354 seats, all seating. The dimensions of the pitch are 105×68 meters. The February 13In 1998, it was classified as an elite stadium by UEFA, being the second in Spain to achieve this category.
In the Camp Nou facilities you will find the official headquarters of the Barcelona Football Club, the administration offices, and the ” Museu del FC Barcelona “, the club’s museum, which is the most visited in Catalonia. In addition, the Camp Nou is the main part of a complex that also houses the ” Miniestadi “, a football stadium with 20,000 seats where the teams from the club’s quarry play their games, ” La Masía “, residence where the most sportsmen young people from the club, and the ” Palau Blaugrana “, a multipurpose pavilion with 8,000 spectators where the teams from the club’s basketball, handball, roller hockey and futsal sections train and play.
Camp Nou has been used for various purposes other than football, often hosting major concerts. Pope John Paul II celebrated mass for a congregation of over 121,500 at Camp Nou on 17 November 1982, on the occasion being made an honorary citizen of Barcelona.
In 1983, Julio Iglesias played for 60,000 people, in what was described as a “most beautifully orchestrated” concert. Other high-profile performances at Camp Nou include those by Bruce Springsteen on 3 August 1988 during his Tunnel of Love Express Tour in front of 90,000 fans; and again on 19 and 20 July 2008 during his Magic Tour. On 9 August 1988, Michael Jackson appeared at the stadium in front of 95,000 fans during his Bad World Tour. On 10 September 1988, a charity concert organised by Amnesty International to support human rights featured, among others, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour, Tracy Chapman, and El Último de la Fila. A concert by the Three Tenors – Josep Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti – was held on 13 July 1997. On 3 August 1988 Bruce Springsteen appeared in front of 90,000 people on the Tunnel of Love Express Tour. He came back on 9 September 1988 to appear in front of again 90,000 on the Human Rights Now! tour.
U2 performed at the stadium three times: the first one was on 7 August 2005 during their Vertigo Tour, in front of a sold out crowd of 81,269 people. The second and the third were on 30 June and 2 July 2009 during their U2 360° Tour, in front of a total crowd of 182,055 people. The encore performance of “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” from the second 2009 show was filmed for the music video of the single.
On 4 November 2014, Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), which operates France’s professional rugby union leagues, announced that the 2015–16 Top 14 final would be held at the Camp Nou on 24 June 2016. The Top 14 final is traditionally held at the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. However, the scheduling of the 2015 Rugby World Cup caused the 2015–16 French season to be shifted by several weeks, in turn causing the Stade de France to be unavailable because it would be a major venue for UEFA Euro 2016. The match ultimately drew a crowd of 99,124, setting a new record for attendance at a domestic rugby union match.
On 18 May 2019, the first Super League game was hosted at Camp Nou as Catalans Dragons defeated Wigan Warriors 33-16. This match set the Super League attendance record for a regular season fixture, attracting 31,555 fans.