During the week leading up to the El Clásico, Barcelona has timely revealed its plans to renovate its famous old Camp Nou stadium in an attempt to keep up with the best clubs in Europe, such as its LaLiga rival, Real Madrid.
The Whites are reshaping the Santiago Bernabéu, which reopened to fans last month in a 5-2 win against Celta de Vigo, 559 days after hosting their last game.
The construction works on the emblematic house of Real continue, with the long-term goal of having a multipurpose super stadium with capacity for 80,000 people, adapted to the 21st century, with several stores, food outlets and an expanded museum.
Not to be left behind, Barça has now published its revised project to completely reform the aging concrete fish tank. The degree of deterioration of the Camp Nou was recently revealed in a report detailing that pigeon nests covered in excrement created bad odors and caused swarms of flies and mites to accumulate inside the stadium, while there was also evidence that bird droppings fell into the areas where food was prepared for the fans.
Barcelona plans to invest € 1.5 billion to transform the venue into a 105,000-seat stadium “at the forefront of technology.” The project is certainly ambitious, especially since the club intends to carry it out despite having a debt of around 1.5 billion euros.
The Catalans even make direct reference to the Bernabéu in their presentation video, along with other new and remodeled stadiums, such as Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Atlético de Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano.
The Camp Nou was inaugurated in 1957 and is still the largest stadium in Europe, with a capacity for 99,354 spectators. But, at 64, he already seems a bit tired.
Barça members approved for the first time in 2014 the major renovation plans for the stadium, called “Espai Barca”, but due to a series of problems the club has only been able to carry out a small part of the proposed works.
However, the project has now been reconsidered and revised, with the Catalans set to turn their 64-year-old stadium into a campus they hope will become an 18-acre gem in the heart of the city. The club president, Joan Laporta, will present that revised plan to a general assembly for approval. If that happens, all the members of the club will vote a referendum to give the green light to this development.
The new Camp Nou will have a retractable roof covered by 30,000 square meters of solar panels. This energy will be used for the new 360-degree screen that will surround the entire interior of the stadium, and also for various security systems. In another effort to improve the sustainability of the facilities, rainwater will be collected and recycled.
Outside, the entrance will feature a series of office complexes and green spaces, as well as a hotel and the “Palau Blaugrana” – a smaller stadium between Camp Nou and the Johan Cruyff stadium (where Barca B plays) in which Events can be held and it will have an ice rink.
La Masía, the club’s revered youth academy that has produced such stars as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, will also be preserved as part of the campus.
Barça hopes that its huge new complex will be integrated into the community of Les Corts, the neighborhood that is located there, without barriers to allow fans to move freely throughout the area.
Parks and sports facilities will be built in open spaces around the stadium to allow visitors to enjoy different entertainment and activities.
A “welcome center” will also be built in the hall of the Main Stand that will feature a new giant Barça store and a museum with all the trophies and souvenirs that the club has collected over the years.
The new Camp Nou certainly looks fantastic in its virtual format – a sleek, modern stadium that goes with a club that wants to be the best in the world.
Barça expects that, depending on the approval of the financial agreements, the renovation works can begin in the summer of 2022 and finish by the end of 2025 if everything goes according to plan. Therefore, the most eager fans will have to settle for the images until then.