As the most popular sport in the world, soccer is played in some of the most spectacular sports stadiums. With so much money in the modern game, virtually all professional teams play in impressive arenas.
If you’ve ever attended a live soccer game, you’ll appreciate the value of a great stadium. From the moment you set your eyes on the gigantic structure, to the first glimpse of the turf as you enter the stand, there is nothing quite like a packed stadium.
In this article, we take a look at some of the biggest, smallest, and most iconic soccer stadiums in the world. We explore interesting topics, like:
- Famous sports arenas
- Impressive soccer stadiums from around the world
- Biggest Stadiums in the world
- Smallest stadiums
- Soccer stadiums in the United States
Do you have a favorite stadium? Let’s find out more about some of the biggest and most interesting soccer grounds in the world.
What Is The Most Famous Sports Stadium In The World?
Depending on the part of the world you’re in, this question can draw a wide variety of answers. In North America, there may be a consensus that the Yankee Stadium is the most famous. Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Madison Square Garden may also get a mention.
In Latin America, where soccer is the dominant sport, the Maracana of Brazil and Estadio Azteca of Mexico are likely to be the most common answers. In Asia and Oceania, Narendra Modi Stadium (India) and Melbourne Cricket Ground (Australia) are perhaps the most well-known.
The continent of Africa is home to several famous stadiums, including the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Borg El Arab in Alexandria, Egypt, is a massive 86,000 seater. It primarily hosts club and international soccer games.
Europe is home to some of the most famous stadiums in all of soccer, including Old Trafford (Manchester United), Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid), and San Siro (AC Milan and Inter Milan).
Let’s take a closer look at the most famous soccer stadiums in the world.
Soccer Stadium FAQs
What Is a Famous Soccer Stadium?
Famous soccer stadiums exist all over the world, from London’s iconic Wembley Stadium to the legendary Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Stadiums make a name for themselves in several ways. High-capacity arenas are often elected to host major games, like Champions League finals and international tournament ties.
Some stadiums are famous because they are the home fields of popular teams. Although it’s not even nearly the biggest stadium in the Premier League, Stamford Bridge is well-known as it is the home of Chelsea Football Club, one of the most successful English teams of the past two decades.
Other grounds earn notoriety from being closely linked to soccer history. For example, the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay was the first place to host a World Cup final in 1930.
Uruguay, the tournament’s host nation, beat Argentina 4-2, earning them the honor of lifting the trophy on home soil.
The 73,000 seater hosts Uruguay’s international fixtures. It is also the home ground for Penarol, one of Argentina’s most famous teams.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most famous soccer stadiums from different countries and leagues around the world.
Soccer Stadium MLS
Since soccer is still a relatively you sport in the United States, it doesn’t have many iconic stadiums just yet. However, some legendary football and baseball stadiums are used at reduced capacity for certain MLS games.
New York City FC plays home games at Yankee Stadium with the capacity reduced from 47,309 to 30,321. Soldier Field is the home ground of Chicago Fire FC, seating 24,955 from a full capacity of 61,500.
New England plays home games at the legendary Gilette Stadium. However, the capacity is lowered from 65,878 to just 20,000 for soccer fans.
Soccer Stadium EPL
As the most popular league in the world, it’s no surprise that the Premier League is home to some of the most famous stadiums. The two most iconic stadiums in the EPL are those of fierce rivals, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Old Trafford is the home stadium of Manchester United, the Premier League’s most decorated club. It first opened its doors in 1910. Today, it is the largest seated stadium in the Premier League, with a maximum capacity of 74,140.
Every home game sees fans visit Old Trafford from all around the world. Although there is talk of renovating the stadium, no concrete plans are in place for a new-look stadium.
This legendary arena has an iconic nickname, awarded by one of the club’s greatest ever servants:
“This is Manchester United football club, this is the theatre of dreams.”Sir Bobby Charlton, 1987
Anfield is known for its exceptional atmosphere, whether Liverpool plays on big European nights or weekly Premier League games. With a 45,276 maximum capacity, it is by no means a giant stadium.
However, the passionate Kopites (home fans) ensure they are always heard, especially when singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the club’s unofficial anthem.
Soccer Stadiums Europe
European club soccer is steeped in rich history. Top players from around the world flock to Europe to represent some of the fabled teams. Each year, these arenas play host to momentous Champions League games between some of the best teams in the world.
San Siro is the most famous stadium in Italy. It is unique in that it is the home ground for both major Milan teams, AC Milan and Internazionale (Inter Milan).
The 80,018-seater has held major games, including the 1965 and 1970 European Cup finals and the 2002 Champions League final.
In terms of European titles, one team stands head and shoulders above the rest: Real Madrid. The Santiago Bernabéu is one of the finest stadiums in the world, playing host to Spanish soccer royalty every week.
Despite being slightly smaller than Barcelona’s Camp Nou, the location within Spain’s capital and decades of prestige mean the Bernabéu is generally the first choice for hosting national soccer events.
It has held 4 European Cup finals as well as the 1982 World Cup final.
Camp Nou is befitting of FC Barcelona’s club motto: “Mes Que un Club” (more than a club). The 98,757 capacity creates an atmosphere like no other.
With the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, and Diego Maradonna gracing the hallowed turf for decades, it’s no wonder the bleachers are packed for every home game.
The Allianz Arena is one of Europe’s newer iconic stadiums. It is the home stadium of European giants, Bayern Munich since the 2005/06 season. It has already hosted a Champions League final (2012) and will undoubtedly be a destination for more major finals in the future.
Soccer Stadiums Latin America
Soccer is ingrained in Latin American culture. It brings families and communities together and also represents a path out of poverty for talented players. Unsurprisingly, there are several powerhouse stadiums in Latin American countries.
Estadio Azteca has a current capacity of 87,523. However, it has previously hosted events with over 130,000 attendees in the past. Located in Mexico City, it is the country’s national stadium. It’s also the home stadium for Club América and Cruz Azul.
After its opening in 1966, Estadio Azteca quickly hosted two World Cup finals, in 1970 and 1986. It was here that we witnessed the most infamous goal in soccer history: Diego Maradonna’s “Hand of God”.
The Maracana, located in Rio de Janeiro, is arguably the most famous stadium in soccer. It is the home stadium for the Brazilian national team and has also hosted several huge games, including the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, as well as the 2016 Olympics soccer final.
Tighter restrictions surrounding seating and standing in stadiums have reduced the capacity significantly over the years. At present, it can hold a maximum of 78,838 people.
However, in the 1950 World Cup, 199,854 soccer fans witnessed Brazil vs Uruguay inside the historic arena, making it the largest crowd to ever attend a soccer game.
What Is The Most Beautiful Soccer Stadium In The World?
As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Any of the stadiums mentioned above could be regarded as the most beautiful ground, depending on the person.
Another stadium that hasn’t been mentioned is the Wanda Metropolitano. It has been Atletico Madrid’s home stadium since 2017.
It is one of the newest and most modern stadiums in the world. The 68,000-seater hosted the 2019 Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
Soccer Stadium Capacity
Soccer fans are among the loudest and most passionate in world sports. Stadium capacity has an enormous impact on the atmosphere throughout a game. Visually, there is nothing quite like a packed-out arena.
What Is The Largest Soccer Stadium?
Interestingly, the biggest soccer stadium in the world, by capacity, is located in North Korea. It is a multipurpose stadium that hosts different events, including the national soccer games of Korea DPR men’s and women’s teams.
As well as being the biggest soccer stadium in the world, it is only the second-largest arena in all of the sports.
|1||Rungrado||114,000||North Korea||Korea DPR National teams|
|2||Michigan Stadium||107,601||USA||Michigan Wolverines|
|3||Melbourne Cricket Ground||100,024||Australia||Multiple teams|
|4||Camp Nou||99,354||Spain (Catalonia)||FC Barcelona|
|5||FNB Stadium||94,736||South Africa||Kaizer Chiefs & National team|
|6||Rose Bowl||92,800||USA||UCLA Bruins|
|7||Wembley Stadium||90,000||England||National team|
|8||Estadio Azteca||87,523||Mexico||Club América, Cruz Azul, & National team|
|9||Bukit Jalil||87,411||Malaysia||National team|
|10||Lusail Inconic Stadium||86,000||Qatar||National team (plus 2022 World Cup)|
|10||Bor El Arab Stadium||86,000||Egypt||Al Ittihad, Smouha, & National team|
Which Is The Biggest Stadium In The World?
The biggest sports stadium in the world is Narendra Modi Stadium. With a capacity of 132,000, it is a gigantic arena, befitting the second-most populous country in the world.
The stadium is used predominantly to host cricket games, including international test matches, one-day internationals, and T20I international games.
The Narendra Modi was also one of the primary stadiums used in 1987, 1996, and 2011 Cricket World Cups. It’s no surprise that cricket is the number one sport in India. Although soccer is also big in India, cricket has an unparalleled following.
The original stadium was built in 1983. Although it was renovated around 23 years later, the stadium was knocked down entirely in 2015. The stadium, as we know it today, was rebuilt in 2020.
Which Is The Smallest Stadium In The World?
Stadiums come in all shapes and sizes. Since there are millions of sports grounds at an amateur and professional level, it’s difficult to say with certainty what the smallest stadium is. However, there are a number of notable “mini-stadiums” in the professional game.
|1||Ipurura Stadium||8.164||Spain||Eibar (La Liga)|
|2||Dean Court||11,329||England||Bournemouth (EPL)|
|3||Stade de la Licorne||12,097||France||Amiens (Ligue 1)|
|5||Stadio Paulo Mazza||16,134||Italy||SPAL (Serie A)|
Some of the lowest capacity stadiums in soccer’s elite professional leagues. Information from the18.com.
How Are Football Stadiums Named?
You may have noticed that soccer stadiums often have unusual names. In the modern game, most stadiums are named after sponsors. For example, Manchester City’s Etihad stadium comes from Etihad Airways, the team’s primary sponsor.
However, other arenas get their names in a more organic fashion. Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu is named after the team’s legendary player and former president, Santiago Bernabéu.
FC Barcelona’s home ground, “Camp Nou”, literally translates to “New Ground”. It was originally meant to be called “Estadi del FC Barcelona”. However, after the team’s move from their old stadium, “Camp Nou” stuck and is now the official name today.
Does America Have a Soccer Stadium?
The United States men’s and women’s teams play their home games on various grounds around the country. Unlike other countries, The US doesn’t have a dedicated national ground. US international soccer games have taken place in 116 different venues, across 29 states.
What Is The Most Famous Stadium?
The stadium that is most famous for hosting US international soccer games is the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, in Washington D.C. 24 games have taken place there
California has held more US games than any other state. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena have been used most. The latter was the venue for the 1994 World Cup final and the 1999 Women’s World Cup final.
Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.