On May 25th, the Champions League final goes down in London’s super-posh Wembley Stadium, home of the English national soccer team. Which got us thinking about the finest pitches on the planet. Here are seven of our favorites. Note: a couple of these selections could surprise even the most die-hard footie fan.
1. Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain) Holding almost 100,000 fans, it’s the largest stadium in Europe. It’s also the home stadium of Lionel Messi, the most ridiculous goal scorer on the planet.
2. San Siro (Milan) Located in Milan’s San Siro district, this 80,000-seat beauty is home to AC Milan and Inter Milan. Call it the Staples Center of European football.
3. Estadio Azteca (Mexico City) By any definition, this place is muy, muy badass. It’s the only stadium in the world to have hosted two World Cup finals. Also, it’s where Diego Maradona scored his infamous “Hand of God” goal against England. Also, the Mexican national team is virtually unbeatable here. Also, it can hold 105,000 screaming, Corona-fueled fans.
4. Seoul World Cup Stadium (Seoul, South Korea) The largest soccer-only stadium in Asia, this bad boy can hold over 66,000 fans and was designed to look like a traditional Korean kite. Rumor has it the concession stands serve great barbecue.
5. La Bombonera (Buenos Aires, Argentina) The home turf of Boca Juniors, this stadium’s odd shape leads to extremely loud acoustics. Fun fact: the Coca-Cola banners in the stadium are black-and-white rather than red because Boca’s archrival, River Plate, wears red.
6. Türk Telekom Arena (Istanbul) Speaking of loud, on March 18th, 2011, this two-year-old stadium for Turkish club Galatasaray reached 131.76 decibels, considered the “loudest crowd roar at a sport stadium” by Guinness World Records. Meaning that for Galatasaray’s opponents, this place is like, uh, a Turkish prison?
7. Old Trafford (Manchester, England) It’s where Manchester United plays their home matches. Need we say more?