10. Santiago Bernabau, Madrid
With a place firmly etched on the face of world football, the home of Real Madrid is sacrosanct. Since 1947, the Bernab?u has been host to some of the most legendary matches and players in the history of club football. The stadium has also been host to three Euro Cup finals and most notably, the 1982 World Cup final match.
When you think of the great teams and players who have set foot on the pitch - from Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento, Didi, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane - it boggles the mind.
9. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
One of the most impressive stadiums in which to catch a football match, Estadio Azteca is simply colossal. The official capacity of 115,000 makes it the third-largest stadium in the world. Azteca is home to the legendary Club Am?rica and draws massive crowds for the Mexico City squad.
But to the rest of the world, the claim to fame of Azteca is as host to two World Cup finals, in 1970 and 1986. The latter is notable as the year of the “Game of the Century” final between Italy and Germany and the “Hand of God” Diego Maradona match between Argentina and England.
8. Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium, Kolkata
If world-class cricketers had to play in just one stadium, many would place themselves in front of the wickets at Eden Gardens. Few other cricket grounds compare in size and the capacity crowds of 90,000 at this historical site are mad for their sport. India is of course, a cricket nation and nowhere else is this more on display than in Kolkata.
Eden Gardens broke ground in 1864 and has been host to some of the most historic test matches in cricket, the most significant of which have come between India and Pakistan.
7. Old Trafford, Manchester
The richest sports club in the world also plays in one of the most venerated stadiums on the planet. Just the name Old Trafford alone is enough to evoke images of the iconic structure, let alone of giants like George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton, David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson.
The string of phenomenal club success Man U has had under Ferguson’s tenure has only served to cement Old Trafford’s status as “The Theatre of Dreams”.
6. Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York City
A run of recent championship success by the rival Red Sox almost made us choose Fenway Park over Yankee Stadium. But how could we do that to The House that Ruth Built? The New York Yankees (aside from the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL), are the most successful pro sports franchise in North America.
Their most memorable moments as a team, which comprise some of the most memorable moments in baseball - if not sports history, took place here. The legendary Bombers who wore the famous Yankee pinstripes, from Gehrig to Ruth, DiMaggio to Mantle, all ran the bases in the Bronx. Catch it while you can though. The team will open the new Yankee Stadium in 2009.
5. Camp Nou, Barcelona
Feel free to make your case Real Madrid fans. Although we grant Santiago Bernab? elite status among world stadiums, Camp Nou edges it out by a hair. Overall the complex is more impressive, grandiose and the fans, rowdier.
Of course, no other stadium in Europe can compete with the capacity crowds of Camp Nou. At 100,000 strong the homeside can rely on an incessant atmosphere that intimidates like no other, a trait current players Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto and Lionel Messi certainly appreciate.
4. Estadio Alberto J. Armando, Buenos Aires
Known as La Bombonera, or The Chocolate Box, the Estadio Alberto J. Armando is home to the legendary Boca Juniors football club. Football in South America inspires a passion and excitement that is unique to the continent. At La Bombonera, that emotion flourishes with reckless abandon.
With a capacity of just under 60,000, the crowds in Buenos Aires are zealous, especially when it comes to their Boca Juniors. The ideal time to come is when the team hosts archrival River Plate. All of Argentina, if not South America, tunes in to the action.
3. Melbourne Cricket Ground
With a capcity of 100,000, the MCG or The G as locals call it, is the largest stadium in Australia and for that matter, in cricket. The stadium is also the symbolic spiritual heart of sport in the country. On the global stage, the MCG is known as the jewel of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
But above and beyond, this is a cricket and Australian Footbal League stadium. The Grand Final for the latter enjoys the best attendance of any domestic club championship in the world. If you can make it to the match or a world-class cricket test, you will rapidly comprehend why the MCG is a pilgrimmage site for sport.
2. Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil and soccer. When you think of one, you think of the other. With inextricable links between the two, it would make sense to include on the list the most reverential soccer stadium in Brazil. Well, that would be the Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, or as most refer to it, the Maracana, in beautiful Rio de Janeiro.
Come here to take in a match between local squads Flamengo and Fluminense and witness how religion and football are one and the same in Brazil. Paid attendance here for the 1950 World Cup final match was just under 200,000 and the stadium still swells with crowds of that size for major rock concerts.
1. Wembley Stadium, London
Or the New Wembley to be precise. Althought the most expensive stadium ever built is not the same incarnation as the original, it nonetheless inhabits the same spirit and is home to the best events in the United Kingdom, Europe and perhaps the world, bar none. At 90,000, it seats more people under one retractable roof than anywhere in the world.
England’s national football team calls Wembley home and the stadium will host major rugby tournaments as well. In addition, Wembley is the centrepiece of the 2012 Olympic Games in London and a repeat guest host of regular-season NFL games. Overall, this is without a doubt the preeminent showcase stadium for sport in the world.