By REUTERSDecember 02, 2016Latest : Sports
BARCELONA: Barcelona's Nou Camp is the biggest football arena in Europe and has long been the home of the world's best players but visitors have often complained that it is lacking in atmosphere.
Thanks to a campaign by supporters, however, the stadium has reverberated with noise at every game this season after the creation of a singing section.
The singing fans plan to create a cauldron of noise for Saturday's visit by arch rivals Real Madrid to the Nou Camp, venue for past greats such as Laszlo Kubala, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona and now home to modern heroes Neymar and Lionel Messi.
"At last our ground feels like a proper stadium," said Barca coach Luis Enrique after the boisterous new section of the ground, known as the Grada de Animacion, lifted the atmosphere in a 1-0 win over Granada in October.
"They spent the whole game cheering us on and singing. The players are grateful to them."
The singing section was the fruit of a campaign by five supporters' clubs who formed the umbrella group Seguiment FCB ('We follow FC Barcelona') with the aim of creating a better atmosphere inside the 99,000-capacity stadium.
"The Nou Camp was never a very loud stadium," Carles Ordiales, president of Seguiment, told Reuters.
"The character of the Catalan people is not very festive and it's always been difficult for people here to get excited."