Barcelona set a world record for attendance for a women’s match with 91,553 supporters attending Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid at Camp Nou.
The previous record crowd for a women’s game has stood since 1999, when 90,185 fans watched the World Cup final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
However, some estimates suggest 110,000 people attended Denmark’s win over Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in the 1971 World Cup final, a tournament that was not officially sanctioned.
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In club football, the existing high prior to Wednesday’s Clasico was 60,739, set when Atletico Madrid hosted Barca in a league game at the Wanda Metropolitano in 2019.
Barca usually play their home games at the 6,000-seater Estadi Johan Cruyff at the club’s training ground, but this match was moved to Camp Nou to accommodate the bigger demand for tickets.
It is just the second time the European champions have played a competitive game at the 99,354-capacity stadium, and the first time with fans. Last season’s 5-0 win over Espanyol was also played at Camp Nou, but it was played behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions. Barcelona won Wednesday’s game 5-2 to go through to the semifinals 8-3 on aggregate.
“At the end of the match I had to hold my tears back because this is just too crazy,” Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen told reporters afterward. “It’s one thing is to play at Camp Nou, but when it’s full, winning 5-2 in the Champions League and the fans aren’t leaving, they’re staying to celebrate with us!
“I did not imagine anything like it, goosebumps all over the place. It’s not only 91,500 here tonight, it’s 91.500 Barca fans here tonight and they have been singing all game and it’s been amazing. It’s something I never dreamt of happening, but we did it and hopefully it’s not the last time we do this.”
Success on the pitch has fuelled interest in the team, with Barca ending last season with a treble, which included a first Champions League trophy.
They have already won the Spanish Supercopa this season and clinched a third successive league title with a 5-0 win against Madrid earlier this month. In the Primera Division, they have won all 25 of their matches, scoring 138 goals and conceding just seven.
Individual recognition for captain Alexia Putellas has also increased the spotlight on the team. The club captain won the Ballon d’Or at the end of last year and followed it up with FIFA’s The Best in January.
“This can be the start of a new era,” Putellas said in a news conference ahead of the game. “This game is going to inspire a lot of people, especially girls. I didn’t imagine it [was possible] because I just saw men, which is why I say it can open many doors for many people.
“I knew I could play football, but it did not seem accessible on this scale. That’s why this match can mark a before and after because Barca are the biggest club in the world and they have a voice.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism