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UEFA Champions League 2017-18: The Stadiums, Part I


The Champions League group stage second round is about to knock on our doors. However, while all the attention is focused elsewhere, we offer you a story of the stadiums, where the best European football clubs perform.

Group A
Old Trafford (England, Manchester)
Opened: February 19, 1910

An interesting historical fact is that upon the outbreak of the Second World War, the Old Trafford was requisitioned by the military to be used as a depot.

The home arena of Manchester United can accommodate The Theatre of Dreams ready for Champions League76212 fans. The match with Basel gathered as many as 73854 visitors. "The Theatre of Dreams" is the third largest stadium in Great Britain. Even more, there are plans to increase the capacity of the stadium to 88000 spectators in the future! Several matches of the World Cup 1966 and the Champions League final 2003 were played in this arena.

St. Jakob-Park (Switzerland, Basel)
Opened: 15 March, 2001 

The capacity of Basel’s stadium is 42500 seats. The match against Benfica was visited by 34111 spectators. This arena is still the largest stadium in Switzerland to this day. “Joggeli”, as the fans call it, was renovated before EURO 2008 and hosted a semi-final. The 2016 Europa League final was played here, too.

VEB Arena (Russia, Moscow)
Opened: September 10, 2016

The stadium of the Army-men was commissioned in 2016. Interestingly, a part of the arena is a skyscraper. In its form, it is reminiscent of the Russian Cup, won by the Russian club in 2005.

As for the capacity, it does not exceed 30000 fans. The average attendance is close to the capacity: 29073 fans saw Manchester United crash the Russian club earlier in the tournament.

Estádio da Luz (Portugal, Lisbon)
Opened: October 25, 2003 

Being the largest Portuguese stadium, da Luz boasts a capacity of 65647 people. The match with CSKA gathered 38323 fans, while the Manchester United match saw more than 57000 attend the stadium.

Interestingly, the translation from a Portuguese Estádio da Luz means "Stadium of Light."

Group B
Parc des Princes (France, Paris)
Opened: July 18, 1897

The stadium is named after the area around the building, where royal hunting took place in the 18th century. Moreover, at first, this stadium was founded as a velodrome - the finishing section of the Tour de France cycle race. Only over time it became the visiting card of the PSG.

The total capacity is designed for 48713 people. The attendance in the match against Bayern was 46252 people.

Allianz Arena, with a clour-changing exteriorAllianz Arena (Germany, Munich)
Opened: May 30, 2005

It is clear, that the World Cup in Germany could not bypass this beautiful stadium without visiting it. So, the year of 2006, as well as 2012 (the Champions League final) became memorable dates in the history of this building.

The stadium holds up to 75000 spectators. It almost reached this number when 70000 fans attended the matches with Anderlecht and Celtic.

Furthermore, it is the first stadium in the world with a full colour-changing exterior. 

Celtic Park (Scotland, Glasgow)
Opened: August 20, 1892

The stadium has hosted four matches of Champions League during this season. It has an average attendance of 54936 people. However, the total capacity is 60832 football fans. It is the largest football stadium in Scotland.

Constant Vanden Stock (Brussels, Belgium)
Opened: 1918

The stadium of Anderlecht can accommodate up to 28063 people, without taking the standing places behind the gate into account. The European competitions are an exception, as there are only seated places offered in the stadium and no standing positions allowed. This reduces the capacity to 26361 spectators.

However, as practice shows, the Champions League did not cause any unprecedented excitement among the football fans: less than 20000 people came to see the games against Celtic and PSG. So, there were enough places for everyone.

Group C
Stamford Bridge Stadium (England, London)
Opened: 28 April 1877
Renovated: 1904–1905, 1998

London's "aristocrats" have no reason to complain Champions League at Stamford Bridgeabout the attendance of their fans. Despite the total capacity of 42055 seats, as many as 41100 fans visited the games against Qarabagh and Roma. The stadium is usually completely full. However, this was not always the case. Even though it is the ninth largest stadium in England, it has seen some bad times, too. In the distant year of 1906, it was visited by merely 3000 spectators, which is an anti-record in the history of the club.

Olimpico (Rome, Italy)
Opened:1937
Renovated: 1953

The Italian Roma had a much worse scenario. Only 36064 fans came to support The Wolves during the game with Atletico. And we would like to remind you, that the total capacity of the Roman arena is 72698 places. Nevertheless, Roma’s arena, shared between AS Roma and SS Lazio, is the most visited stadium in the domestic championship. 

Wanda Metropolitano (Madrid, Spain)
Opened: 6 September 1994
Reopened: 16 September 2017

The name of the stadium has several references in it. Firstly, Wanda is a reference to the Chinese company Wanda Group, which is one of the owners of the club. Secondly, the word Metropolitan refers to the Metropolitan de Madrid stadium, the club's home stadium in 1923-1936 and 1943-1966.

The new beautiful stadium of the Spanish Atletico, appeared on the site of the old La Peineta, hasn’t seen the taste of a Champions League victory yet. However, the arena is already waiting for the big moment, as it will host Atletico’s all home matches from this season, replacing Vicente Calderon. The match against Chelsea saw an attendance of 60643 spectators. It can collect up to 67000 though.

Olympic (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Opened: March 6, 2015

There were 67200 fans in the stadium to witness Qarabagh’s duel with Roma. This main stadium of the Azerbaijani capital accommodates 69870 people it total. It seems that love for football and Champions League in particular has never been in question in the country.
It is worth to mention that Qarabagh played its qualification games in the arena named after Tofik Bakhramov. The average attendance was 26250 people, while the total capacity was 31400.

Camp Nou is Europe's largest stadiumGroup D
Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain)
Opened: September 24, 1957

Camp Nou is a world-famous stadium, which does not require any introduction. The average Champions League attendance this season has been 66841 fans. It has to be mentioned, that the total capacity is 99354, which not only makes Barcelona’s home ground the largest stadium in Spain and Europe, but also the second largest one in the world.

José Alvalade (Lisbon, Portugal)
Opened: August 6, 2003 

Despite the fact, that the maximum this stadium can accommodate is 50044 people, the average attendance was 47,627 fans during the two meetings in the Champions League this season. The sports complex Alvalade XXI, in addition to the stadium, includes a cinema, a fitness centre, a sports clinic, a museum of Sporting society "Sporting", office buildings and an underground parking. It was re-built on the site of the previous stadium, which was destroyed in 2000. Like the old stadium, this one was also named after José de Alvalade, the founder of Sporting.

Allianz Stadium (Turin, Italy)
Opened: September 8, 2011

The stadium, which was called Juventus Stadium prior to the current season, has been the site of Juve’s main successes in the recent era. The total capacity of the stadium of the Italian flagship is 41507 people. The average attendance in the current Champions League has been almost 35000 fans.

The stadium is famous for its characteristic two pillars, painted in the colours of the Italian national flag.

Georgios Karaiskakis (Piraeus, Greece)
Opened: 1896
Renovated: 1964, 2004

The arena of Olympiacos (total capacity of 33500 people) has already managed to host three Champions League battles this season, showing an average attendance of 25125.

The arena is famous for its black chairs on the seventh sector, which form a number of 7. They represent the tragedy that took place on February 8th, 1981, when 21 red-white fans died in the 7th sector of the stadium after the match between Olympiacos and AEK, won by the home side with a score of 6-0.
 
Read Part II


2017-10-23


Physical attributes

acceleration
agility
balance
jumping
pace
reactions
stamina
strength
reflexes

Technical attributes

ball control
corners
crossing
dribbling
finishing
free kicks
heading
long throws
marking
penalties
shooting accuracy
shooting power
slide tackle
stand tackle
technique
volleys
aerial control
diving
handling
kicking
one on ones
off the area
penalty saving

Mental attributes

adaptability
anticipation
aggression
composure
concentration
consistency
creativity
decisions
determination
leadership
positioning
vision
tactical awareness
teamwork
work rate
communication
eccentricity
positioning in the line
punching
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