Barcelona set a world record for participating in a women’s game with 91,553 supporters who attended the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The previous record for a women’s game has been set 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 that 110,000 people attended Denmark’s victory 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 point ahead of Wednesday’s Clásico 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-seat Estadi Johan Cruijff on the club’s training ground, but this match was moved to the Camp Nou to meet the increased demand for tickets.
It is only the second time that the European champions have played a competitive match 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 was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions. Barcelona won Wednesday’s game 5-2 and advanced to the semi-finals 8-3 in total.
“At the end of the game I had to hold back my tears because this is just crazy,” Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen told reporters afterwards. “It’s one thing to play at Camp Nou, but when it’s full, winning 5-2 in the Champions League and the fans don’t leave, they stay to celebrate with us!
“I didn’t imagine anything like that, goosebumps everywhere. It’s not just 91,500 fans here tonight, it’s 91,500 Barca fans here tonight and they sang the whole game and it was amazing. It’s something I never dreamed it would be.” would happen, but we did and hopefully it won’t be the last time we do this.”
Its success on the pitch has fueled interest in the team, with Barca finishing last season with a treble, including a first Champions League trophy.
They have already won the Spanish Supercopa this season and took a third league title in a row earlier this month with a 5-0 win over Madrid. In the Primera Division, they won all 25 games, scored 138 goals and conceded only seven.
Individual recognition for captain Alexia Putellas has also boosted the spotlight on the team. The club captain won the Ballon d’Or at the end of last year and followed FIFA’s The Best in January.
“This could be the start of a new era,” Putellas said at a pre-match press conference. “This game will inspire a lot of people, especially girls. I didn’t imagine it [was possible] because I just saw men, and that’s why I say it can open a lot of doors for a lot of people.
“I knew I could play football, but it didn’t seem accessible on this scale. That’s why this game can be a before and after, because Barca are the biggest club in the world and they have a voice.”