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FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Stadiums in the World: 80-71

Words: Lee RodenVijhay Vick, Andy Murray, James Fielden, Joe Brewin, Tio UtomoNick Moore and Scott McIntyre.

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

80. Stade Pierre-Mauroy

Stadium facts

Location Lille, France

Opened 2012

Tenants LOSC Lille

Capacity 50,157

Record attendance 49,626

The Stade Pierre-Mauroy is a stunning technical feat. Clad in an animated façade which projects videos and changes to Lille’s colours on matchday, the bubble-shaped structure bears a retractable roof which weighs 100 tonnes more than the Eiffel Tower.

As if the day job as a football ground wasn’t enough, the pitch can also be raised remotely to form a stage for concerts, while the space underneath can function as a tennis or basketball court, with both Eurobasket and Davis Cup matches recently played there.

Unsurprisingly, all that tech comes at a cost. The construction required €324m of the metropolitan area’s funds, and Lille are forced to send €4.5m rent in their direction every season to use the facilities. But for fans of a club who have battled for decades to get a decent, permanent home ground, being able to call a swanky modern ground home will feel worth the effort. - LR 

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79. Salt Lake Stadium

Stadium facts

Location Kolkata, India

Opened 1984

Tenants Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal, Mohammedan SC, Atletico de Kolkata

Capacity 68,000

Record attendance 131,000

The largest football stadium in India, Salt Lake often attracts huge numbers to the Kolkata derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. When the sides met in the 1997 Federation Cup semi-final, a record 131,000 people crammed in to see Indian legend Baichung Bhutia bag a hat-trick as East Bengal won 4-1 – and as recently as 2008, there were 120,000 there to see Oliver Khan’s farewell as Bayern Munich beat Mohun Bagan 3-0.

Those days have gone: with much of the terracing replaced by seats, the capacity was reduced to 68,000 to make it more spectator-friendly for Atletico de Kolkata’s campaign in the inaugural Indian Super League in 2014 – and the club responded by winning that year’s title.

However, Salt Lake Stadium is undergoing another facelift in order to meet the September 2016 deadline to be included in the 2017 Under-17 World Cup. The £12.5 million project is expected to include work on the stadium’s facilities and features, including making it energy-efficient – and may raise the capacity back to nearer 80,000. - VV 

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

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 

78. Vallecas

Stadium facts

Located Madrid, Spain

Opened 1976

Tenants Rayo Vallecano

Capacity 14,708

Record attendance Unknown

There’s something different about Vallecas; whisper it, something almost British.

Nestled in the heart of working-class Madrid, just to the south-east of the city centre, Rayo Vallecano’s home is the team of the people. Few grounds can elicit such a connection between the local area and its team. When local resident and fan Carmen Martinez, 85, was to be evicted from her flat, the club and its supporters raised the money to pay for her rent for a year.

The ground is so cramped that the southern end has no terrace and backs immediately onto a number of high-rise flats which overlook the pitch, offering quite the view of proceedings come matchday. At the other end – which backs onto Calle del Payaso Fofo, named after Spain’s most famous clown – only a handful of uncovered rows to add to a relatively small 15,000-seat capacity.

The noise here, though, is something else. If you want the real Madrid, visceral and authentic, then this is the stadium for you. – AM 

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77. Estadio Diego Armando Maradona

Stadium facts

Location Buenos Aires, Argentina

Opened 2003

Tenants Argentinos Juniors

Capacity 25,500

Record attendance Unknown

It may not be the most glamorous stadium – it’s actually a bit of a dump, located in the residential Villa General Mitres neighbourhood of Buenos Aires – but it certainly has history behind it. In 1976, in its former wooden guise, the stadium hosted the first career appearance of Diego Maradona, then just 15. Talking of teenagers, a 17-year-old Lionel Messi played here in an 8-0 victory for the Argentina under-20 side in 2004.

Argentinos Jrs moved out in the early 1980s, intending to use the $5.8 million Maradona fee to rebuild. However, economic problems delayed the renovation until 1995 and despite being reopened in 2003, it could already do with sprucing up.

Its appearance isn’t aided by the fact it has metal fences between the fans and playing surface and with crowds dwindling, only two stands are generally open for matches in a ground that only has three sides anyway. The fourth, behind one of the goals, is currently occupied by a line of trees and more advertising than Piccadilly Circus. - JF 

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

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 

76. Commerzbank-Arena

Stadium facts

Located Frankfurt, Germany

Opened 1925

Tenants Eintracht Frankfurt

Capacity 51,500

Record attendance 81,000

Eintracht Frankfurt’s Commerzbank-Arena has been spruced up no fewer than four times since its grand opening 90 years ago, most recently in 2005 for hosting five matches at Germany’s World Cup the following year.

It’s a different beast from the old 35,000-capacity Waldstadion (Forest Stadium), which formerly served as a military shooting range and considered bidding for the 1936 Olympics before Berlin stuck their oar in. After the Second World War it was renovated for 18 months to better suit its hosting of Frankfurt and Germany matches, plus a range of sporting events including ice hockey, boxing, cycling and later, American Football.

The stadium got another makeover for the 1974 World Cup – practically rebuilt from the ground upwards – before being pulled down and resurrected again for its current form a decade ago. These days it’s a plush cauldron housing Frankfurt’s passionate fans who still show up in their throngs. - JB 

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75. Gelora Bung Karno Stadium

Stadium facts

Location Jakarta, Indonesia

Opened 1962 (renovated 2007)

Tenants Indonesia, Persija Jakarta

Capacity 88,083 (100,800 standing)

Record attendance 150,000

The biggest and most memorable stadium in a country of a quarter-billion people, the GBK has hosted a variety of events over the years, including political rallies, concerts and even some football matches.

The iconic feature of the stadium is the huge steel roof construction that forms a gigantic hoop called temu gelang (joined ring). It is reminiscent of stadiums built in Communist countries, which should come as no surprise as it was partially funded via a special loan from the Soviets.

Construction began in 1960 in preparation for the fourth Asian Games and could initially accommodate 120,800 people, before the capacity was reduced to 88,083 seats for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. The listed record attendance is from a domestic league match back in 1985 prior to the reconfiguration.

Arsenal, Juventus, Liverpool and AC Milan are among the teams to have graced the stadium, which is at its best when locals belt out the Indonesian anthem to serenade the national team. - TU 

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

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 

74. Arena Nationala

Stadium facts

Location Bucharest, Romania

Opened 2011

Tenants Romania, Steaua Bucharest, Dinamo Bucharest

Capacity 55,634

Record attendance 53,329

Fans in this part of the world need little encouragement to inflict an intimidating atmosphere on the opposition, and extra edge is added by the steep structure of Romania’s national stadium. Just a year after opening it hosted the Europa League Final and UEFA bods will be back again in a few years for Euro 2020 as it hosts group matches as well as a round of 16 and a quarter-final tie.

Although clearly benefiting from the lack of a running track, it is smaller than its predecessor which closed in 2007 having once staged matches in front of six-figure crowds. The only criticism would be that the speckled seating layout means it’s hard to tell if anyone’s actually there.

Sadly when domestic league matches are staged in the arena, the huge arch-roofed bowl is rarely more than half full, but the Romanians can once again have a stadium to be proud of. - JF

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73. Estadio Centenario

Stadium facts

Location Montevideo, Uruguay

Opened 1930

Tenants Uruguay, Peñarol

Capacity 60,235

Record attendance 93,000

The apparent lack of cash in South American football means lots of the stadiums remain close to their original look, and the Centenario is no different. With a capacity of 100,000, it was named to mark the 100th anniversary of Uruguay's independence; to build it for the first World Cup in 1930, workers had to put in three shifts, 24 hours a day to get it ready in time. It wasn’t.

Ten of the 18 matches were subsequently staged at the country’s biggest stadium as Uruguay lifted the trophy and then FIFA President Jules Rimet declared it the “temple of football”. It’s still a big draw: nearly a century on, domestic teams rent the stadium to play the big matches.

A huge concrete bowl, it is instantly recognisable for the 100m tower rising from the Tribuna Olimpica. Erected to celebrate independence, the ‘Torre de los Homenajes’ has nine windows representing the nonet of stripes in the Uruguayan flag. - JF 

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

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 

72. Etihad Stadium

Stadium facts

Location Manchester, England

Opened 2002

Tenants Manchester City

Capacity 55,097

Record attendance 54,331

There was a lot to love about that old Mancunian mainstay, Maine Road, but you won’t find too many Blues complaining about the Etihad – originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games before being given a natty refit for football.

It’s easy on the eye with its San Siro-style swirly entrance/exits and steel masts and cables. It has boosted City’s earning power through its standing as the Premier League’s third-largest ground: the South Stand’s recent revamp added another 7,000 seats. Most importantly of all, it’s at the heart of a huge regeneration for the entire area.

Via facilities like the Academy, the Sportcity campus has given a real boost to the Beswick and Clayton areas of the city, transforming East Manchester and epitomising the City owners’ admirable commitment to actually helping the region as well as winning trophies. Modern yet intimate, it hasn’t diluted the old Kippax spirit too much in the name of progress. - NM 

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71. Kopetdag Stadium

Stadium facts

Location Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Opened 1997 (refurbished 2015)

Tenants Turkmenistan, Kopetdag Ashgabat

Capacity 26,503

Record attendance 20,200

The autocratic president of Turkmenistan is something of an oddball; he’s placed an 11pm curfew throughout the country, recently unveiled a 20-metre high bronze and gold statue of himself in the middle of the capital Ashgabat and is known to make his cabinet members undertake weekly volleyball matches in order to improve their physical fitness.

He’s also the main attraction at the country’s Kopetdag Stadium. Walk into the venue and the first thing you see is a giant mural of Gurbanguly Burdymukhamedov staring down at you – but it’s not just any old mural. The President is waving at the crowd atop a bicycle, wearing white pants, a Lacoste shirt and the grin of a man who can do pretty much whatever he wants.

The mural may be the stadium’s best asset, but it does regularly host top-flight club and international matches where the stands are full of those who may or may not have chosen to be there, creating one of the more colourful atmospheres in world football. Built in 1997, the venue was refurbished this year and opened with a match between two local club sides, featuring a cameo from President Gurbanguly himself. - SM

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