The Camp Nou stadium first opened on September 24, 1957.
Barcelona’s previous stadium Camp de Les Corts was deemed too small for further expansion following a number of developments to cater for the club’s increasing fanbase.
Barca’s signing of legendary player Ladislau Kubala, one of the finest Barcelona players, in 1950, further prompted the board of directors to decide that a new stadium was inevitable. Having also captured two La Liga titles shortly before, in 1948 and 49, demand to see Barcelona play was higher than ever.
Originally planned to be named the Estadi del FC Barcelona, the more popular name Camp Nou was adopted.
Construction began on 28 March 1954 when 60,000 fans turned up to watch the civil governor of Barcelona, Felipe Acedo Colunga, lay in place the first stone with a blessing from the Archbishop of the city, Gregorio Modrego.
It took three years to complete, going 336% over budget for a final cost of 288 million pesetas. The stadium was officially opened on 24 September 1957, the day of La Mercè, Barcelona’s patron saint. Handel’s Messiah was performed at the opening and Barcelona defeated Warsaw 4-2 in a friendly.
The stadium originally had a capacity of 93,053 increasing to 121,749 for the 1982 World Cup. In 1999, UEFA outlawed standing sections in stadiums, and Camp Nou’s capacity settled at its current level of 98, 772, making it the largest stadium in Europe and 13th biggest in the world.
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