Football is the most popular sport in the world with over a billion fans all over the world. Since the mid-20th century, South America has dominated the sport with several countries winning the FIFA World Cup while others producing international superstars like Pele and Neymar (Brazil) and Maradona and Messi (Argentina). Due to the popularity of the sport, countries in the continent have invested in building some of the largest stadiums in the world.
1. Monumental “U” (Peru)
Monumental “U” or the Estadio Monumental is a stadium located in Peru’s capital, Lima. The Estadio Monumental is the largest in the country and also the largest in South America with a capacity of 80,093 people. Construction of the Monumental “U” began on January 16th, 1991 and ended in 2000 at the cost of over $44 million. The stadium was opened on July 2nd, 2000 and is currently owned and managed by the Universitario de Deportes. The Estadio Monumental has hosted several key events including the 2008 Copa Peru.
2. Maracana Stadium (Brazil)
The Maracana Stadium is a football stadium located in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The Maracana Stadium is named after the Rio Maracana, a river flowing through the city. Maracana Stadium is the largest stadium in Brazil and the second largest stadium in South America with a capacity of 78,838. However, the record attendance at the stadium was set on July 16th, 1950 where 199,854 attended the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Construction of the stadium commenced on August 2nd, 1948 and was completed on June 16th, 1950 with further renovations in 2000, 2006, and 2013. The State of Rio de Janeiro owns the stadium. Several huge events have been hosted in the Maracana Stadium including the 1950 FIFA World Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics Games.
3. Nacional Mane Garrincha (Brazil)
The Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mane Garrincha is a football stadium located in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. Also known as the Nacional Mane Garrincha, the stadium is the second largest in the country and the third largest in South America with a capacity of 72,788. The Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mane Garrincha’s construction ended in 1974 at the cost of about $900 million and was opened on March 10th, 1974. The stadium was later renovated in 2013 in line with the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup which it hosted along with the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
4. Monumental Antonio V. Liberti (Argentina)
The Monumental Antonio V. Liberti Stadium is the main stadium in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires. Also known as the Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti or the River Plate Stadium, the Monumental Antonio V. Liberti has a capacity of 62,000 making it the largest stadium in Argentina and the fourth largest in South America. However, in 1975 the stadium set its record attendance with over 100,000 people during the River Plate-Racing Club match. Construction of the stadium took two years between 1936 and 1938 at the cost of about $3 million before it was opened on May 25th, 1938. The site on which it was built is reclaimed land from the coast of Rio de la Plata. The stadium hosted several matches during the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Construction of several stadiums in South America was hindered by criticism from the public due to widespread corruption in the countries.