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FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Stadiums in the World: 70-61

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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 

64. Estádio do Dragão

Stadium facts

  • Location Porto, Portugal
  • Opened 2003  
  • Tenants Porto
  • Capacity 52,035
  • Record attendance 52,000

Viewed from the air or afar, the Estádio do Dragão resembles a giant UFO, but when at the venue itself one is struck by the airy and light nature of the unusual design.

Large openings between the banks of blue seats and the partly transparent rooftops at either end have proved conducive to ensuring an impeccable playing surface all year round, no doubt aiding Porto’s formidable record at home – domestically and in Europe.

A Brazilian delegation of World Cup 2014 constructors and architects visiting Portugal’s Euro 2004 venues described the Dragão as “the most beautiful, harmonious and interesting” of the stadiums they had visited.

For the fiercely proud fans of Porto, the stadium could not have had a better start to life, inaugurated with a 2-0 friendly victory over Barcelona in the middle of 2003/04, a season that would end with the Dragons being crowned Champions of Europe. – TK 

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63. CenturyLink Field

Stadium facts

  • Location Seattle, USA
  • Opened 2002
  • Tenants Seattle Sounders & Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
  • Capacity 67,000 (39,115 for MLS)
  • Record attendance 67,835

Fancy a nice quiet game? Avoid CenturyLink Field. Shared by the Seattle Sounders and gridiron neighbours the Seahawks, and only the second MLS stadium to feature in the FIFA video game series, it has set world records for crowd roars, topping out at 137.6 decibels for a Seahawks game in December 2013. To put that in context, it is roughly the same amount of noise a military jet makes when taking off.

Asked how it generates such a din, architect Jon Niemuth explained: “If you’re trying to create a container, the bigger the cup you can make it the better.” Built with two large stands either side of the field that tower over proceedings – and with the north end open to allow views of downtown Seattle, a mere mile away – it channels the noise directly onto the field.

Djimi Traore, the former Liverpool player turned Sounders coach, acknowledges the impressive atmosphere. “When you step on the field you feel something electric when you play here,” Traore told FourFourTwo. "The best part is when you have the national team anthem and you hear all the noise. That gives you something, the atmosphere is amazing.” With Sounders attendances averaging above 40,000 over the season – and peaking with 67,000 sellouts for derbies – it’s one of the loudest places in MLS. – KH

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