5) Santiago Bernabeu
One of the most revered figures in Spanish football, Santiago Bernabeu had quite an association with Los Blancos. Indeed, he was a prominent figure at a time when the reigning European Champions were a small sized club with no real future plans in place. Post the world war II and the civil war the country was involved in, Bernabeu began giving structure to the club after years of military service. It was his diligence and association with the club for years that earned him a place on the board. He brought some of the finest players in the late 50s as Real Madrid began flourishing on the European stage. His vision and humility transformed the club, whereas the stadium was named after him to reward him for his outstanding duties to the Spanish giants.
4) Ferenc Puskas Stadion
A born goal scorer, Puskas is often regarded as one of the finest players ever to play the beautiful game. His goal scoring returns average nearly a goal per game, scoring 84 times in 85 appearances for Hungary. The former Real Madrid star won numerous major honours in his career with the World Cup win of 1954 unarguably the greatest of his achievements. Post his playing days, he managed several teams across the world and even managed the national side for a brief period. He died in 2006, but his legacy was glorified when FIFA established the Ferenc Puskas award in ’09, an award for the most beautiful goal of the year. The Hungarian national stadium in Budapest is also named after perhaps the country’s finest player ever.
3) Johan Cruyff Arena
Pep Guardiola’s total football ideology has earned rave reviews from around the football world, with the Italian defender, Giorgio Chiellini, claiming that the Spaniard’s tactics has added to a defender’s plight. Unquestionably, Guardiola has changed the way football games are perceived. Winning is no more the only priority, ask Mourinho. But, it is the Dutch legend, Johan Cruyff, who deserves top praise for the above. It was his ideology, that caught everyone’s imagination in the early 90s. The former Ajax player won three BallonD’Ors in his playing career, but his reputation only proliferated during his managerial career with Ajax and then at Barcelona. His philosophy of total football brought immense success to Camp Nou, winning the Champions League title in ’94, and also giving a particular direction to the much famed La Masia youth academy. The football great passed away last year, but his legacy will live on as Ajax announced, on April ’17, that their stadium would be renamed after the nation’s finest sporting asset.
2) Diego Maradona
The Argentine is easily among the greatest players of all time. Despite Lionel Messi’s mesmerising performances over the years, the Barcelona star is still ranked after Diego Maradona which demonstrates just how good Maradona really was. Starring for the likes of Boca Juniors and Barcelona, it was at Napoli where the Argentine set the world alight. He was the flag bearer of Napoli’s Serie A title win of 1986 as the Naples side finally brought an end to Juventus’ domination. A moment of great controversy came in the ’86 World Cup when Maradona used his hand to put the ball in the net, later claiming it was the hand of God which won Argentina the title. Despite that, it was his solo goal against England that was really everything Maradona was all about. Touch, control, skill the goal had it all as he streamed past through seven players to score the historic goal. He managed the national side in ’06 World Cup only to be crushed by Schweinsteiger and Germany, 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The diminutive great has a stadium named after him in Buenos Aires, the home of Argentinos Juniors. The stadium, like Maradona, has seen some great games played and is known for the ferocious atmosphere it generates.
1) Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Football world needs no introduction to the prestigious GuiseppeMeazza stadium a.k.a San Siro, home to one of the greatest rivals in world football, Inter and AC Milan. The 80,000 seater stadium is one of the best stadiums in Europe and has been home to several historical moments. It has been graced by players like Kaka, Zanetti, Seedorf and Pirlo over the years. The stadium is named after Giuseppe Meazza, who is often considered as the finest Italian footballer ever. The technically gifted forward scored more than 200 Serie A goals during his time with Inter and was twice the World Cup winner during his heyday. The Milan clubs have had years of mediocrity but look on the up with both clubs heavily investing this summer as they look to regain lost ground to Juventus.