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.
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
Fans queuing to buy tickets
Giant poster of Qatar stewardess with FCB players
Home of FCB
Float the flags
Join the FCB fans club
Random FCB sign
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
I get to see Messi, Neymar and the rest of the FCB team in action, this close:
Lionel Messi just strolled by
How close were we to the field?
We sat just behind this capsule where the players sat
The players’ seats have the Qatar Airways brand on them
Super close football actions
Messi closing in
Messi in possession
A tackle from Real Betis
A ball pass
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
Stern looking security personnel
Group photo at half-time from our seats
Second-half of the game
Look who’s stretching and getting ready to play
Real Betis going for a goal
The animated Real Betis manager
Neymar going in
Neymar in action
Shot was not converted to a goal
Messi going for a goal
The spectators went wild
Beautiful day to watch football
FCB in possession
The two coaches hugging after the match
Neymar shaking hands with the Real Betis manager
Neymar with a Real Betis player
Messi taking his leave after the game
Spectators emptying the stadium
My parting shot with Camp Nou after the match
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
These are human beings, not ants
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
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!
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.
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
Qatar Airways branding
Counters to buy admission tickets
My admission ticket
Make your own FCB souvenir coin
Tribute to goalies
Club crest on the field
Stairs leading up to the field
There’s a little chapel for prayers before and after the game
The changing room
Other side of the room
Little jacuzzi pool
Chairs for physiotherapy and massage
Media interview area
Club slogan – more than just a club
Qatar Airways branding on the seats
Nike logo on the other side
Me seated in the commentators and media box
Qatar Airways seats for the players
Inside the exhibition hall
FCB historical items
Messi’s jersey and signed football
Trophies from other Barcelona sports teams
Signed basketball shoes
Gasol’s signed NBA jersey
Autographed jersey and golden ball
More trophies still
Me with Lionel Messi’s 4 x Ballon D’or trophies
Closer look at Messi’s trophies
Early collecting cards
Special Obama jersey of the US President
Bridge linking the stadium to the Nike store
FCB video highlights
The making of the Land of FC Barcelona video commercial for Qatar Airways
Old TV clips of FCB
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:
Enter the Nike FCB store in Camp Nou
What to buy?
Retail dream for FCB fans
Iconic blue and red stripes jersey. Guess which players’ jerseys are stocked the most?
Yellow and red stripes jersey
FCB Women’s team jersey and kit
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
Winner will be announced end July. 🙂