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FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Stadiums in the World: 30-21

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FFT's 100 Best Stadiums: 100-91 • 90-81 • 80-71 • 70-61 • 60-51 • 50-41 • 40-31 • 30-21 • 20-11 • 10  9 • 8 • 7 • 6 • 5 • 4 • 3 • 2 • 1

#FFT100STADIUMS The 100 Best Stadiums in the World: list and features here

24. Estadio Municipal de Braga

Stadium facts

  • Location Braga, Portugal
  • Opened 2003 
  • Tenants Braga
  • Capacity 30,286
  • Record attendance 30,000

The jewel in the crown of Portugal’s new set of stadiums built for Euro 2004, the mundane name of this truly extraordinary stadium is in stark contrast to its uniqueness and gobsmacking wow factor.

Built into a former quarry, the amazing feat of engineering first required the removal of 1,700,000 cubic metres of stone, to construct a two-sided stadium. Architect Eduardo Souto Moura (who was subsequently awarded the worldwide “Oscar for architecture” Pritzker Prize) said he believed football was a game that should be watched laterally, hence the decision to leave a rugged stone cliff untouched at one goal-end, while the other end provides a cascading view down over the River Cávado valley and the city of Braga. 

The gigantic grey rooftops supported by 68 coupled prestressed steel cables and grey seating adds to the notion of that this is a temple for the ages, an integral component of the very earth in which it is implanted, rather than a football venue. – TK 

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23. Olympiastadion Berlin

Stadium facts

  • Located Berlin, Germany
  • Opened 1936
  • Tenants Hertha Berlin
  • Capacity 74,475
  • Record attendance 110,000

You’ll be hard pushed to find a stadium steeped in history quite like Berlin’s menacing Olympiastadion. Built for Adolf Hitler’s 1936 Olympics and used first as a hub for Nazi propaganda, it was the setting of Jesse Owens’ dazzling gold medal wins in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump which flew in the face of Hitler’s Aryan ideals.

That history is still tangible. Although it is now a multi-purpose arena attracting just over 50,000 Hertha Berlin fans every fortnight, and the venue of last season’s Champions League final, the Olympiastadion’s controversial place in history lives on.

That may not have always been the case, though – in 1998, debate raged about the stadium’s future; some wished for it to be knocked down completely, others were in favour of leaving it to crumble. Renovation won, however, and selection for Germany’s 2006 World Cup ensured this grand old stadium remained intact. – JB 

I WAS THERE “On a gloomy day, the Olympiastadion’s heritage feels even more haunting. Immediately you’re confronted by two hulking twin towers and those Olympic rings, while the swastika-emblazoned bell formerly housed in a 247ft tower now serves as a memorial to that terrifying period in history.” – Joe Brewin, FFT's Digital Features Editor

#FFT100STADIUMS The 100 Best Stadiums in the World: list and features here