Tag Archives: camp nou

The Camp Nou is set to get even bigger

Barcelona announced on Tuesday that the club are set to expand their world famous stadium, the Camp Nou, to an 105,000 capacity deluxe stadium. A four year project, the upgrade is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2021/22 season.

The stadium is without question long overdue something of a facelift. It’s bare concrete exterior which covers three quarters of the ground today is the same one that fans would see when it was built in 1957.

Of course, it’s not the first time that plans were made to upgrade the stadium –  world-renowned British architect Normal Foster was given the task of presenting the stadium with an entire new look as part of an upgrade in 2007. The plans were made by then-club President Joan Laporta, only to be scrapped by his successor (and rival) Sandro Rosell.

But the stadium, despite it’s uneven shape, has character. It’s instantly recognizable because of it’s shape, size and layout. There’s a lot of new stadia being built that seem a bit generic for my liking. Football grounds are supposed to be unique. From Goodison Park to La Bombonera, or from the Vélodrome to the San Siro, for me grounds are supposed to have character.

mosaic_camp_nou

For Barcelona, upgrading the stadium is probably essential. It is old. The club attracts around 10,000 tourists to each home game, and have been doing so for a few years now. Yet games, aside from crucial Champions League matches and el Clásico, are very rarely sold out. Increasing the numbers will unquestionably baffle some.

“Excited about the project that we’ve chosen for the Camp Nou of the future,” tweeted current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu. “Good news for Barça fans everywhere”. And yes, a change is exciting. I just fear that another great stadium will lose a bit of it’s character. I hope I’m wrong.

 

Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)

 

 

The new Camp Nou: Good or bad idea?

Yesterday, football giants Barcelona announced plans for renovations which may be made to the Camp Nou. Instead of building an entirely new stadium, club president Sandro Rosell had said that renovating the iconic stadium and keeping it in the city’s Les Corts district, which has been home to the club since 1957, was the best option.

The renovations will cost around €600 million and would be completed by 2021. A club members’ referendum will be held in April to decide if the plans will go ahead.

The new-look stadium will see the capacity increase to 105,000 and every seat will be under cover.

newcampnou

I was in the Camp Nou around a fortnight ago to watch Barça take on La Liga newcomers Elche on a mild (the locals insisted it was freezing) Sunday afternoon. The game finished 4-0 to the Catalans. I don’t see what is wrong with the current stadium. I’m not alone with that opinion.

Granted from the outside, it looks somewhat dated and just appears to be an uninviting grey concrete structure. But the stadium is an icon of the city and indeed of European football. It has character and history. Where as every new large stadium being built nowadays looks incredibly generic and seems somewhat soulless.

lescortsnewcampnou

But when you are in the Camp Nou, you can almost feel the tradition and the history. There’s almost ghostly presences of the likes of Cruyff, Maradona, Ronaldinho etc.

I don’t share the excitement some do for the new look Camp Nou – if it does go ahead. It’s unusual shape is part of it’s charm for me. Plus the fact that games very rarely sell out with the exception of El Clásico. In fact, it’s estimated that 10,000 tourists turn up for games each week.

Either way, many are excited for this new look stadium. I’m not one of them. I have a love for old-fashioned stadia. What I’d give for one more match in the old Lansdowne Road instead of twenty in the Aviva Stadium.

Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)

Has José Mourinho taken it a little too far this time?

Eye-gouging on the touchline. Well, it’s certainly a new approach to get under someone’s skin from The Special One as his Real Madrid side travelled to Barcelona‘s Camp Nou during the week for the 2nd leg of the Spanish Super Cup.

Following Marcelo’s two-legged tackle on Barça’s Cesc Fabregas, chaos ensued at the sideline. Red cards were being thrown around to Marcelo, Mesut Ozil and David Villa. Then Mourinho very calmly walks up behind Pep Guardiola’s number two Tito Vilanova and very bizarelly sticks his finger in the Barça assistant’s eye. Vilanova retaliated by pushing The Special One who in turn responded with a menacing smile.

Cue post-match uproar in Catalonia. Barcelona vice-president Carles Villarubi described the Real Madrid boss as a “stain on football”. Defender Gerard Pique said that “someone has to take action on the matter. Mourinho is destroying Spanish football”. Someone probably should take action against The Special One – but in truth, it will be likely he’ll avoid punishment as the incident wasn’t in the referee’s report and it’s understood that Barça won’t make a complaint to the Spanish FA.

Then in a post-match press conference, Mourinho described Barça as a “small team” while Pep Guardiola said that he could only congratulate his players “for their way of thinking”. A strange night in the Catalan capital and a very ill-tempered end to a game that witnessed (and overshadowed) greatness from Leo Messi, who very nearly clinched another hat-trick against the old enemy.

Has José Mourinho taken it a little too far this time?
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Champions League Matchday 6 preview

  Afternoon one and all. Matchday 6 in the Champions League this week and despite most clubs already qualified for the next phase there’s still some good games worth watching.

  Group H is the most open one with Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal and Sporting Braga all having a chance to progress into the next stage in the top position. It’s amazing Arsenal still haven’t qualified despite having scored 15 goals and mastered 6-0, 3-1 and 5-1 victories back to back. An upset at the hands of Serbian side Partizan could see a big surprise exit for the Gunners.

Wenger hopes his team keep their eye on the ball

  With this weeks contraversial news that Russia is to host the 2018 World Cup, the only team flying the Russian flag in the Champions League with hope is Rubin Kazan. Either themselves or FC Copenhagen could finish in second in Group D. Kazan face a very much in-form Barcelona in the Camp Nou but it was only a year ago when they caused an upset in the very same fixture.

  Finally, Spurs manager (and allegedly occasional wheeler-dealer) Harry Redknapp will be looking for maximum points to ensure their finish on top of Group A. They face FC Twente, previously managed by Ssshhteve McClaren. Inter Milan will be looking for points and as many goals as possible to finish in pole position. They will take on Werder Bremen, who have been well below their standard in this year’s competition.

Another day, another classic

  I will be in Liverpool this coming Monday night and I was originally scheduled to go see Cast play on their home turf at the city’s O2 Academy. However, a few weeks ago the news broke that the heated rivalry match between Barcelona v Real Madrid was moved to said Monday night as opposed to it’s usual weekend slot, I made the decision that I will have to catch John Power & co. another time – I’m not missing this.

  Yes sir, this Monday is the 161st La Liga installment between Spain’s two biggest teams. And with Pep Guardiola’s successful record against Madrid and José “Special One™” Mourinho’s successful record against Barça, it makes it even better viewing. Not to mention the small matter of the talent on the pitch such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, Karim Benzema, Xavi, Sergio Ramos, David Villa, Gonzalo Higuaín to name but a few. It is a hugely anticipated game in world football, possibly more so than the rivalries of Boca Juniors v River Plate, Liverpool v Manchester United and maybe even Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers.

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  So, put it in your diaries if you haven’t already and tune in come Monday night. The game, known as El Clásico, should have the tongues of football fans everywhere wagging. Of course, not literally. Especially in my case – I’m sure that behaviour in a Liverpudlian pub could see me on the receiving end of a Scouse smack.