Neymar

Neymar

The World Cup fever is at its peak now, with just the semi-finals and finals matches to go. In two days time, Argentina will be playing the Netherlands while Brazil will be playing Germany.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Arguably one of the world’s best football player, Lionel Messi, will be playing for Argentina. His FC Barcelona (FCB) teammate, Neymar, should have been playing for Brazil too, but is out with a back injury. A pity, else we might get to see a FCB showdown between Neymar and Messi if Brazil and Argentina advanced.

Outside Camp Nou in Barcelona

Outside Camp Nou in Barcelona

Fans queuing to buy tickets

Fans queuing to buy tickets

Giant poster of Qatar stewardess with FCB players

Giant poster of Qatar stewardess with FCB players

Home of FCB

Home of FCB

Float the flags

Float the flags

Join the FCB fans club

Join the FCB fans club

Random FCB sign

Random FCB sign

Entering into the stadium

Entering into the stadium

I had the good fortune to watch both Messi and Neymar play LIVE during a FCB match on home ground at Camp Nou in Barcelona, thanks to Qatar Airways, the title sponsor for FC Barcelona. They were playing against Real Betis, but no one seems to care who they were playing against. Clearly, most of the audience were there for FCB:

Catalan flags waving

Catalan flags waving

I get to see Messi, Neymar and the rest of the FCB team in action, this close:

Lionel Messi just strolled by

Lionel Messi just strolled by

How close were we to the field?

How close were we to the field?

We sat just behind this capsule where the players sat

We sat just behind this capsule where the players sat

The players' seats have the Qatar Airways brand on them

The players’ seats have the Qatar Airways brand on them

Super close football actions

Super close football actions

Messi closing in

Messi closing in

Messi in possession

Messi in possession

A tackle from Real Betis

A tackle from Real Betis

A ball pass

A ball pass

Half-time

Half-time

I saw Messi right in front of me, thanks to the wonderful front row seats from Qatar Airways

I saw Messi right in front of me, thanks to the wonderful front row seats from Qatar Airways

Excited little fans shouting out to their favourite players

Excited little fans shouting out to their favourite players

Stern looking security personnel

Stern looking security personnel

Group photo at half-time from our seats

Group photo at half-time from our seats

Second-half of the game

Second-half of the game

Look who's stretching and getting ready to play

Look who’s stretching and getting ready to play

Neymar praying

Neymar praying

Enthusiastic crowd

Enthusiastic crowd

Real Betis going for a goal

Real Betis going for a goal

Ball tussle

Ball tussle

The animated Real Betis manager

The animated Real Betis manager

Neymar going in

Neymar going in

Handing over

Handing over

Neymar in action

Neymar in action

Goal kick

Goal kick

Shot was not converted to a goal

Shot was not converted to a goal

Messi going for a goal

Messi going for a goal

Messi scored!

Messi scored!

The spectators went wild

The spectators went wild

Beautiful day to watch football

Beautiful day to watch football

FCB in possession

FCB in possession

Game ended

Game ended

The two coaches hugging after the match

The two coaches hugging after the match

Neymar shaking hands with the Real Betis manager

Neymar shaking hands with the Real Betis manager

Neymar with a Real Betis player

Neymar with a Real Betis player

Messi taking his leave after the game

Messi taking his leave after the game

Spectators emptying the stadium

Spectators emptying the stadium

My parting shot with Camp Nou after the match

My parting shot with Camp Nou after the match

Envious?

I must admit, I am not a hardcore football fan, but when I stepped into the stadium for the first time and saw this:

Stepping into the stadium for the first time

Stepping into the stadium for the first time

These are human beings, not ants

These are human beings, not ants

Packed stadium

Packed stadium

And I mean really really packed...

And I mean really really packed…

I was totally overwhelmed by the passion and the infectious atmosphere to just cheer for FCB. I am sold. FCB is really more than just a club, like their slogan proclaims.

Me, FCB convert

Me, FCB convert

Qatar Airways have a really awesome Land of FCB video commercial which has got over four million views on youtube alone. Check it out:

 

There are even Qatar Airways plane painted with FCB branding:

Fancy flying in a plane like this? Fly Qatar Airways!

Fancy flying in a plane like this? Fly Qatar Airways!

We cannot get enough of FCB after watching the match, so we came back again two days later to tour the stadium on a non-match day.

FCB crest

FCB crest

Footballer statue

Footballer statue

Group picture after the FC Barcelona v Real Betis match

Group picture after the FC Barcelona v Real Betis match

Camp Nou (New Field in Catalan) is  the home of FC Barcelona since 1957. The stadium seats 99,786, making it the largest stadium in Europe and the 11th largest in the world in terms of capacity. It has hosted numerous international matches at a senior level, including two UEFA Champions League finals and the football competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

For tourists, I find the easiest way to get to Camp Nou by public transport is to take the Metro train which we did. The closest stations to Camp Nou are Palau Reial, Maria Cristina and Les Corts, on L3; i Badal i Collblanc, on L5. All are 500 to 1,000 metres from Camp Nou, depending on which of the gates to Camp Nou one uses.

Here are some of the pictures I took during the tour:

Revisiting Camp Nou

Revisiting Camp Nou

Qatar Airways branding

Qatar Airways branding

Audi branding

Audi branding

Counters to buy admission tickets

Counters to buy admission tickets

My admission ticket

My admission ticket

Make your own FCB souvenir coin

Make your own FCB souvenir coin

Tribute to goalies

Tribute to goalies

Club crest on the field

Club crest on the field

Stairs leading up to the field

Stairs leading up to the field

Snack stall

Snack stall

There's a little chapel for prayers before and after the game

There’s a little chapel for prayers before and after the game

The changing room

The changing room

Other side of the room

Other side of the room

Little jacuzzi pool

Little jacuzzi pool

Chairs for physiotherapy and massage

Chairs for physiotherapy and massage

Press room

Press room

Media interview area

Media interview area

Club slogan - more than just a club

Club slogan – more than just a club

Qatar Airways branding on the seats

Qatar Airways branding on the seats

Nike logo on the other side

Nike logo on the other side

Me seated in the commentators and media box

Me seated in the commentators and media box

Qatar Airways seats for the players

Qatar Airways seats for the players

Inside the exhibtion hall

Inside the exhibition hall

FCB historical items

FCB historical items

Messi's jersey and signed football

Messi’s jersey and signed football

Trophies

Trophies

Trophies

Trophies

More trophies

More trophies

Trophies from other Barcelona sports teams

Trophies from other Barcelona sports teams

Signed basketball shoes

Signed basketball shoes

Gasol's signed NBA jersey

Gasol’s signed NBA jersey

Autographed football

Autographed football

Autographed jersey and golden ball

Autographed jersey and golden ball

Autographed shoes

Autographed shoes

More trophies still

More trophies still

Me with Lionel Messi's 4 x Ballon D'or trophies

Me with Lionel Messi’s 4 x Ballon D’or trophies

Closer look at Messi's trophies

Closer look at Messi’s trophies

Early collecting cards

Early collecting cards

FCB heritage

FCB heritage

FCB items

FCB items

Autographed jersey

Autographed jersey

Special Obama jersey of the US President

Special Obama jersey of the US President

 

Bridge linking the stadium to the Nike store

Bridge linking the stadium to the Nike store

FCB video highlights

FCB video highlights

The making of the Land of FC Barcelona video commercial for Qatar Airways

The making of the Land of FC Barcelona video commercial for Qatar Airways

Old TV clips of FCB

Old TV clips of FCB

Cartoon FCB

Cartoon FCB

FCB legacy

FCB legacy

Barca Champions

Barca Champions

Have your photo taken with your favourite FCB player (on green screen)

Have your photo taken with your favourite FCB player (on green screen)

Pictures from the gigantic Nike store touting all the official FCB licensed merchandises. Fans will burst their wallets here on a shopping spree:

FCBotiga Megastore

FCBotiga Megastore

NIke bridge

NIke bridge

Enter the Nike FCB store in Camp Nou

Enter the Nike FCB store in Camp Nou

What to buy?

What to buy?

Posing mannequins

Posing mannequins

Retail dream for FCB fans

Retail dream for FCB fans

Football sneakers

Football sneakers

Iconic blue and red stripes jersey. Guess which players' jerseys are stocked the most?

Iconic blue and red stripes jersey. Guess which players’ jerseys are stocked the most?

Yellow and red stripes jersey

Yellow and red stripes jersey

FCB footballs

FCB footballs

Assorted jerseys

Assorted jerseys

FCB tees

FCB tees

FCB Women's team jersey and kit

FCB Women’s team jersey and kit

Basement floor

Basement floor

Do you feel like flying to Barcelona now after reading this post?

Qatar Airways flies to Barcelona with a short stopover in Doha, Qatar.  Visit the official website to book your tickets directly.

Together with Qatar Airways, I am running a small contest to give away an official FCB football jersey. To win it, just retweet or share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag, #QatarLovesSG.

The official FCB jersey that I am giving away, courtesy of Qatar Airways

The official FCB jersey that I am giving away, courtesy of Qatar Airways

Winner will be announced end July. 🙂