FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Stadiums in the World: 70-61
#FFT100STADIUMS The 100 Best Stadiums in the World: list and features here
62. Vicente Calderon
- Location Madrid, Spain
- Opened 1967
- Tenants Atletico Madrid
- Capacity 54,907
- Record attendance 60,000
There are few more pleasant views in world football than from a seat high in the Calderon’s stunning red-and-white striped open stands on a balmy Madrid evening.
This place is notable for many reasons. It has a picturesque waterside setting – it was originally named the Mazanares after the river it is alongside, before becoming the Calderon in honour of its legendary president in 1971, Then again, there’s a dual carriageway running beneath the covered Preference Side terrace. And it was Spain’s first all-seater ground – and its first to be given a five-star UEFA rating. (Small technical note: UEFA abandoned the five-star system in 2006; top grounds are now Category Four.)
There’s a small but fascinating museum, a creche if you want to drop the nippers off, and it’s easily accessible via the Metro from central Madrid, too. Get there while you can: Atletico’s new €200m, 70,000-capacity home – which looks like a lot less fun to our eyes – is currently under construction. – NM
61. Estadio de Liga Deportiva Universitaria
- Located Quito, Ecuador
- Opened 1997
- Tenants Liga de Quito
- Capacity 41,575
- Record attendance 55,000
Since its construction, the stadium unviersally known as Casa Blanca (White House) has been a success, hosting the finals of the Copa Libertadores 2008, Copa Sudamericana 2009 and 2011 and Recopa Sudamericana (similar to UEFA’s Super Cup) in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, owners Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito have had their most successful spell in history, winning six national and four continental titles – while Ecuador also have a 100% record in qualifiers held there.
The Casa Blanca was planned carefully and built slowly: to level the terrain, a thousand workers had to remove 400,000 cubic metres of land. Its grass seeds were imported from France and grown meticulously for two years in Ecuador’s Cayambe valley, warily checked for possible alien grass. Once the grass was relocated to the Casa Blanca, workers and players had to wash their shoes before stepping on the ground, to protect it.
The result is glorious, as the stadium itself – including four dressing rooms, 442 VIP suites (some were sold for $60,000), a presidential suite and even a chapel. – MM. Main pic by Kerem Özcan