Estadio de La Romareda
|Opening game||Zaragoza – Osasuna 4–3|
|Cost||ESP 21,5 Million|
|Address||C/. Eduardo Ibarra 6, 50009 Zaragoza|
Description: Estadio de La Romareda
How did La Romareda originate?
The first organised football competition in Aragon dates to 1915, much later than in neighbouring Catalonia. In 1917, in the region's capital city of Zaragoza, Iberia SC was formed and in the following years dominated the area. On 7 October 1923 the club opened its own football stadium, the first of its kind in the city, known as the Campo de Torrero. In 1932 Iberia SC merged with CD Real Zaragoza to form FC Zaragoza (since 1951 known as Real Zaragoza).
By the 1950s the Campo de Torrero, although expanded to a capacity of 20,000 spectators, was already too small for the club and the officials began to make efforts to build a new facility. The new ground was acquired approximately 3 km west of the existing stadium. Construction began in 1956, with Francisco Riestra designing the new arena and Agroman company as the contractor. The construction cost was 21.5 million pesetas. The opening of the new facility took place on 8 September 1957, and at the inauguration the hosts defeated Osasuna 4:3. The old stadium was used for some time as a training facility, then was sold off to real estate companies. The last remaining structures were demolished in the early 1990s.
What did La Romareda initially look like?
The stands of the new stadium surrounded the pitch on all sides. The stands behind the goals were slightly curved, while the rows of auditorium along the pitch ran parallel to the sidelines. The stands along the pitch were significantly higher than those behind the goals, and the upper rows of the main west stand were roofed. Initially, the facility could accommodate over 32,000 spectators.
How was La Romareda renovated?
In the 1976/77 season the stands behind the goals were extended and made as high as those along the pitch. They were also provided with a canopy, which like the main stand, covered only the upper rows. The next thorough upgrade of the facility took place before the 1982 World Cup, which involved, among other things, renovating the auditorium and building a roof over the upper part of the eastern stand (the last one which did not yet have a canopy). The capacity of the facility after these improvements was set at 46,920 spectators.
The stadium underwent further renovation before the 1992 Olympics, when the seating capacity was increased. In 1998, all standing room in the stadium was removed by fitting the last missing seating. The capacity was thus reduced to 34,596 fans.
What were the future plans for the Real Zaragoza stadium?
The stadium was presented as part of Spain's bid to host Euro 2004, and if it was awarded the right to host the tournament, there were plans to upgrade it (but Portugal got it). Various ideas have been proposed throughout the 21st century, whether to extend the stadium or build a new one on a different site, but none have yet been implemented. The arena has only undergone minor renovations, including the refurbishment of the business seats in 2006, as well as the changing rooms and other facilities inside the stands. The venue was also supposed to be the main stadium of the Winter Olympics in 2014, due to the candidacy of the city of Jaca for the organisation of this event (the Games were eventually hosted by the Russian city Sochi).
What events has La Romareda hosted?
In 1982 the stadium hosted three matches of the first group stage of the football World Cup. In 1992 the venue was used for six group stage matches and one quarter-final during the football tournament at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The stadium accommodated the final matches of Copa del Rey three times (1983, 1987, 1996). The Spanish national team has also played there occasionally. Apart from football games, the facility has hosted other events such as concerts (Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner, among others, have performed at La Romareda).
Real Zaragoza's footballers, who played at the stadium, were the national runners-up in 1975. The club has also won Copa del Rey six times (1964, 1966, 1986, 1994, 2001, 2004). In addition, Real triumphed in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1964) and the Cup Winners' Cup (1995). In 1995, they also took part in a Super Cup two-legged match. In the first game, played in La Romareda, Real drew with Ajax Amsterdam 1:1 (in the rematch at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, Real lost 0:4).
What does La Romareda look like at the present time?
The stadium has a current capacity of 33,608 spectators. It has largely retained its original 1957 form, with the biggest changes being the extension of the stands behind the goals, the addition of a canopy to the top rows of all the stands and the installation of plastic seating. An office building was also erected behind the main stand and the stadium was upgraded with floodlight masts and digital scoreboards. The facility is known for its non-standard goal nets, which do not take the common rectangular shape and are significantly extended towards the back.
The stadium is located about 3 km south of Plaza del Pilar. Right next to it are, among others, a hospital compound and the Auditorio de Zaragoza concert and congress hall. The stadium can be reached by public transport buses and trams.
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