What a stadium!!!!
Its barely used these days – there are bigger better more modern stadiums in Lisbon. Bigger, better & more modern but none with the character of this one!
Set in the north of Lisbon, in the suburb of Cruz Quebrada, tucked away hidden by trees high on a hill, Estadio Nacional is special. It is the site of a significant changing of the landscape in European Football, for it was here on the 25th of May 1967 that Celtic won the European Cup and in doing so became the the first Scottish team, the first British team, the first non-Latin team and the first team from Northern Europe to do so. With the exception of Milan in 1969, the cup was to stay in the north of Europe until 1985.
To say that Estadio Nacional is unusual is also very true. It features a majestic marble stand which surrounds one side and the two ends of the ground. When Billy McNeill held aloft the trophy that famous night it was a scene fitting of champions. The other side….is empty!!! In 1967 though a temporary stand was erected. That stand is not there today. Can you even imagine it? A temporary stand used in the biggest game of the year?
The European Cup – now the Champions League of course – will never again be held in such surroundings. The stadium is not small – it can still hold 50 000 but though it is in perfect condition its not new or modern enough. Having visited the stadium, one hopes that it retains its uniqueness in perpetuity.