In light of the 2018 World Cup that is happening in Russia right now, I get flashbacks of the times when I attended FC Barcelona football games in Barcelona, Spain. Sure, Barcelona has some nice landmarks and attractions to see such as the Sagrada Familia, but I think more of the awesome football team that they have down there! Football is life for some!
Yeah, Sagrada Familia is nice, but for me, Barcelona is always about the football there thanks to the world-class, world-famous FC Barcelona. FC stands for Football Club if you didn’t know, but now you know and knowing is half the battle…
During the 2016-17 season, the team had one of the greatest trio of forwards the game had ever seen: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar. They won 2016 Supercopa and 2017 Copa del Rey…. I had the luxury of scoring a front row seat to watch these guys play not just once but several times! To watch them is like watching Jordan, Kobe, and Lebron being on the same team. Can’t complain about the high quality these guys provided during the games.
I lived the dream of many football fans who have always wanted to see the world’s best at Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. Thanks to their 2017-18 season being a great one as well, they won 2 minor trophies along with 2 major trophies – La Liga and 2018 Copa del Rey. Any major trophy can make a season a successful one. And more than one means even more success.
Camp Nou has a lot of history behind it not just for all the amazing, historical football games of FC Barcelona but also outside of the team’s games such as Champions League, European Super Cup, World Cup, 1992 Summer Olympics, rugby games, concerts, and even the Pope came out to hold mass there. So it’s definitely an experience to watch the best football team with the best player in the world – Messi.
How to buy tickets? – Here are some tips:
Other than getting them at the ticket box (which take too long or they sell out during popular games), the easiest way is to go to the FC Barcelona website and then pick the game and seat that you want to buy a ticket for. That way you know that you have your ticket and don’t have to worry about not getting in. Just note that if you are familiar with the European Football system is that many games are not set which means that the schedule can and will change due to all the tournaments that they play in. So the bigger the team and the better they do, the more likely the schedule will change. For example, I planned on going to one FC Barcelona vs Villarreal on a Saturday. However, due to their success in the La Copa del Rey tournament and eventual final trophy game (which Barcelona won), they moved the Villarreal game’s date to several weeks later.
Tip: Best is to buy the tickets online, print them, and bring them with you. You can usually enter the stadium up to 90 minutes prior to kickoff – try not to bring any bags but do bring a coat/rain jacket because you never know what the weather might bring. I recommend that you show up to the stadium early so you aren’t screwing around trying to find your seat. In addition, you can watch the players warm-up, take it easy, and enjoy the atmosphere. The worst is when you’re going to watch FC Barcelona play against a good team and you’ve already missed 10-20 minutes of game time because you were late.
Tip: Don’t bring in alcohol. The stadium guards will frisk you and will not allow any alcohol in – which means chug it or dump it. I’ve seen many people buy alcohol from some street vendor only to be told by the gate guards that alochol is not allowed. Note that they don’t sell booze at the stadium either in order to prevent crazy streakers going onto the field to show off their “goodies” to the rest of the world. It’s either that or they do something stupid like kiss one of the players. And for some reason at the stadium, if you buy a water bottle or a coke, they don’t give you the cap.
I remember I was sitting at one of the games next to a guy who had been a club member for 40+ years. He was telling me that it’s amazing how a lot has changed particularly how the team and fans now has a more international flavor. I asked him about that and he said that when he was a kid, FC Barca was more of a regional thing in Spain. He never imagined people from all over the world being fans of the club, coming to Barcelona, going to Barcelona games, speaking Spanish, and enjoying the experience. So when you see the words, “Mes que un club” it really does mean that it really is “more than a club.”
Tip: Learn Spanish as some of the locals have a hard time speaking in English and feel much more comfortable interacting in their own native tongue. I would have never gotten the conversation with the old man who sat next to me if I never learned Spanish at all.
Tip: I recommend staying within walking distance of Camp Nou because there are some major traffic jams before and after the game. I would stay close to Sants station which is a bus/train/subway/taxi station and away from all the ruckus of thousands of feet shuffling their way out. If you do have to take the metro, a good idea is to go get something to eat and drink first while the people en-masse their own way out. Usually an hour or two leads a major amount of people to disappear so things can go back to normal meaning you can go back to their original intended destination.