MADRID ( Associated Press) – When the world-record crowd at the Camp Nou stadium was announced, the cheering was as loud as Barcelona scored their goals.
Everyone in attendance knew they were part of something special: never before had so many people watched a women’s football match.
A record crowd of 91,553 was being celebrated by women’s football everywhere at Wednesday’s Champions League game between Barcelona and Real Madrid, seen as a demonstration of how far the game has come and how far it has come. can go up to
“Dreams do come true,” said Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s head of women’s football and a former player, wrote on Twitter. “Made history and set a world record. So proud to see it all together, proud of our sport. A night to be remembered.”
The previous record for any women’s game was 90,185 for the 1999 World Cup final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl. In the 2012 Olympic final in London, 80,203 people won the gold medal after the US beat Japan 2–1.
“Let’s keep it going,” The Twitter account of the United States women’s national team said Comparing the crowds at Camp Nou and the Rose Bowl.
American stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan were among the Americans celebrating the world record on social media.
“The perfect crowd for the team on the pitch! You love to watch it,” written by rapino on Twitter.
The words “greater empowerment” are featured in a stadium-wide mosaic on the grandstands of Camp Nou in a show of support for women’s fight for a more equal society.
“This evening, why is it unbelievable, (because) I used to watch (Lionel) Messi or Dani Alves (playing here),” former England player Alex Scott told DAZN Football from Camp Nou. “Now every young girl dreams of playing in this stadium, of playing in a Champions League game, and it’s possible because they are watching it.”
The previous club record was 60,739 in a match between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona at Atlético’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in 2019. The previous Women’s Champions League record was 50,212 for a game between Lyon and Frankfurt in Munich in 2012.
Juventus set Italy’s record in their first women’s game in 2019 at the Allianz Stadium with 39,027 people, and most recently the English women’s team has also been playing at their clubs’ main stadiums, including Manchester United’s Old Trafford.
“Just looking at it, I couldn’t believe there were 91,000 people out there for the women’s game,” former England player Karen Carney told Sky Sports News. “I got a little emotional watching it back. We’ve been behind this for a long time in women’s football. … It was wonderful. The game is in a very good place and it’s only going to grow.”
Barcelona are one of the hottest teams in women’s football and advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League after winning Wednesday’s match 5-2. Madrid was one of the top clubs in Europe to still be without a women’s team until a few seasons ago. Now almost every major club on the continent has one, although even professional women’s leagues lag far behind their men’s counterparts when it comes to generating revenue.
It was the first time the Barcelona women’s team played a match in front of fans at the Camp Nou. It was previously played at the stadium, but behind closed doors due to restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The team usually plays at the much smaller Johan Cruyff Stadium, which has around 6,000 fans. Camp Nou has a capacity of 99,000.
The match quickly sold out after free tickets for club members were cut two months earlier. The cheapest tickets cost up to 15 euros ($16) for non-members.
Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putelas scored a goal for Barcelona and made headlines after the game for putting the Barcelona-Madrid rivalry aside and taking a picture with Madrid fans who were at the Camp Nou.
“I don’t have words to describe it,” Putelas said of the sport and the world record. “It was super magical.”
The record came ahead of the 2022 Women’s European Championships, which will be played in England this summer.
“What a moment for our game,” said Chelsea player Bethany England.
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