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Rajko Mitic Stadium aka The MarakanaraGettyimages

Some of the world's scariest places to play or watch football

Including: almost vertical stands, terrifying tunnels and stadiums that actually seem to shake with sound. Not including: a single prawn sandwich

An image of Ciaran Varley
Ciaran Varley
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The Superclasico takes place this weekend, with Argentinian rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors facing one another in the final of the Copa Libertadores - South America's version of the Champions League.

Both sides are from Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires and Saturday's first leg will take place at Boca Junior’s home, La Bombonera aka The Chocolate Box, one of the world's most iconic stadiums.

The Boca-River rivalry produces one of the fiercest derbies in world football and Saturday's game should be quite the spectacle, with River's players in for quite the 'welcome' when they visit. 

So, in honour of this epic encounter to come, we take a look at some of the world’s scariest places to play or watch football - as an opposition player or fan.

(This list is by no means exhaustive, before you start @ing us, Millwall.) 

1. The Estadio Alberto J. Armando aka La Bombonera, Buenos Aires – Boca Juniors

La Bombonera, Boca Juniors fansGettyimages

The stadium takes its name from its unique shape, with a ‘flat’ stand on one side and three very steep stands around the rest of the stadium, which means it feels like the fans are well and truly on top of the players. 

The noise and movement generated by Boca fans means the stadium has been said to shake. River Plate legend Hernan Crespo remembered playing there as an 18-year-old: "When they say that La Bombonera trembles, it's true.

"I remember when I was 18, I was on the court and I thought they were my legs that were shaking and no, it was people, it's very strong, it's not easy." 

He did clarify afterwards that he thinks the stadium shakes because it’s badly designed, rather than because of the noise generated and that he's actually concerned it isn't safe.

Either way, away fans won’t be allowed to attend either leg of this final. While Argentina's five-year ban on visiting supporters (due to the death of a fan in 2013) was lifted this year for most of the nation's teams, it is still in place for the 'big five' of Boca, Independiente, Racing, River and San Lorenzo.  

2. Rajko Mitic Stadium aka The Marakana – Red Star Belgrade

Marakanara, FK Crvena Zvezda and FK PartizanGettyimages

Klopp said after Liverpool’s shock defeat to Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League this week that his team struggled to “find their mojo”.

Perhaps they were also a little bit terrified. I mean, wouldn’t you be if you had to walk through this to get to the pitch? 

Inviting, hey?

Liverpool are a team that know a bit about atmosphere on big European nights, but it’s doubtful they will have experienced anything like this before. The Marakana – nicknamed in homage to The Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – has been home to Serbian champions Red Star since 1963 and gets notoriously loud.

This was the organised display that greeted Liverpool and Red Star on Tuesday night.

3. Estadio Hernando Siles, La Paz, Bolivia

Estadio Hernando Siles, La PazGettyimages

You don’t usually associate an intimidating stadium with a lack of atmosphere, but Estadio Hernando Siles, in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, is so high above sea-level that it impacts not only the fans but the footballers too. Named after a Bolivian politician, it’s one of the highest football stadiums in the world, at an altitude of 3,600m metres above sea level. 

Local teams are used to playing at that altitude, but it can affect visitors more adversely. For instance, in 2009, Diego Maradona’s Argentina were thrashed 6-1 by Bolivia and looked breathless.

In 2013, Argentina played there again. During a 1-1 draw, Messi was reportedly sick on the pitch and Angel di Maria had to be given oxygen.

In 2007, Fifa banned matches being played at more than 2,500m above sea level. Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, argued the ban amounted to discrimination, saying, “This is not only a ban on Bolivia, it’s a ban on the universality of sports.”

4. Türk Telekom Arena, Turkey - Galatasaray S.K.

Turk Telekom Arena, Galatasaray fansGettyimages

To get a sense of the atmosphere at a Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce derby, this is how Galatasaray fans watched an open training session at the Türk Telekom Arena, ahead of their clash with their city rivals.

That passion can sometimes spill over into violence, on and off the pitch, (three players were sent off in a post-match brawl in the Istanbul derby recently), but, on a big night, the atmosphere can be electric. 

Galatasaray’s old home, the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, was, frankly, pretty dangerous. Fans used to unfurl banners reading ‘welcome to hell’ to greet visiting European teams, and violent clashes were a regular occurrence. A fair few giants were unsettled by the hostile home fans, including the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Lit torches and a sea of yellow and red (that looked like fire) made it a special atmosphere.

"I've never experienced anything like Galatasaray," was how Ryan Giggs put it after a visit by Manchester United in the mid-1990s. 

The stadium was demolished in 2011, but that atmosphere has been transferred to Galatasaray’s new home, the Türk Telekom Arena. 

5. Stadio San Paolo, Italy – Napoli

Stadio San Paolo, Napoli fansGettyimages

Italy isn’t short on scary away day venues and the Stadio San Paolo, in the working class city of Naples, is definitely one of them.

Built on volcanic rock, it's Italy's third-largest stadium and legendary for the noise generated by the Partenopei faithful. 

It’s the arena where Maradona captured the imagination when he led the Napoli to their first national championship in the 1986-87 season

The San Paolo itself is in some disrepair, with the Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis, reportedly calling the old haunt “frankly a toilet” earlier this year.

It remains to be seen whether the stadium will be renovated or abandoned for a new home, but hopefully the atmosphere will go wherever the fans go.

6. Stadion Feijenoord aka De Kuip, Rotterdam - Feyenoord

De Kuip, Rotterdam fansGettyimages

Possibly the most raucous stadium in the Netherlands, De Kuip (“The Tub”) manages to create an ear-piercing din, largely because of its imposing and claustrophobic design, like a bathtub.

Feyenoord’s rivalry with Ajax is largely class-based, as well as geographic. The port city of Rotterdam has a reputation for being a largely working class town, while Amsterdam is seen as more gentrified. When the two come together, it can get tasty.

7. Mestalla Stadium, Valencia – Valencia CF

Valencia may not have as many trophies in their cabinet as the likes of other La Liga giants like Real Madrid or Barcelona, but their fans are known to be demanding (just ask Gary Neville).

In terms of the building itself, the North Stand has an incredibly steep section, which must create quite a sense of overbearing scrutiny for the players on the pitch...and vertigo for the fans at the top. Away fans are placed in the North East section and if you don't have a head for heights you might want to choose your seat carefully.  

There you go. Now you know. Use your annual leave wisely.

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