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Top facts about El Monumental, the biggest stadium in Argentina

Mon 17 January 2022 | 17:30

Here we would delve into everything there is to know in regard to the top facts about El Monumental, the biggest stadium in Argentina.

One of the most important South American stadiums is the legendary El Monumental, which is officially known as Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti, located in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Being also dubbed as River Plate Stadium, or even Monumental de Nuñez, much to many people consternation it is not placed in Núñez district, but its exact position is in Belgrano of Buenos Aires.

From its name, it is easy to understand The Estadio Monumental is the home of Club Atlético River Plate, which is one of Argentina's two most popular football (soccer) clubs after only Boca Juniors.

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While it was opened on 26 May 1938 and was named in honour of former club president Antonio Vespucio Liberti, later in 1978 it was expanded when Argentina hosted and won the World Cup.

After all, with the capacity of 70,054, it is the largest stadium in Argentina, being the home of the Argentina national football team as well.

That is to say, El Monumental has been the host of most of Argentina's international home matches, being also the venue for mindblowing performances by international singers and bands.

Just, for instance, the enormous stadium was the main venue in the 1951 Pan American Games and was the host of the 1978 FIFA World Cup Final between Argentina and the Netherlands, hosting four finals of the Copa América, the most recent one in 2011.

Top facts about El Monumental, the biggest stadium in Argentina

Let's dig deep into the amazing Top facts about El Monumental, the home of Club Atlético River Plate.

El Monumental History

Before going right through history, first, let's know more about the club of Atlético

River Plate

. The club was established in 1901 and by 1934, they had grabbed two championships.

Back then, the club had earned the nickname of "Los Millonarios" (The Millionaires) due to the purchase of forward Carlos Peucelle for whom River had paid an immense amount of money.

It was on October 31, 1934, that River Plate also bought the land where the club was to construct their new stadium in the neighbourhood of Belgrano.

El Monumental construction

While the stadium was created on land reclaimed from the marshy coast of Río de la Plata, its cornerstone was set on the Centennial (now Figueroa Alcorta) and Río de la Plata (Udaondo) Avenues on May 25, 1935.

Then after that the Steering Committee meticulously proposed the approved project to its members at an assembly on December 1 of the same year, they could attain a loan of $2,500,000 from the government.

Then on September 27, 1936, the stadium started to be built under the supervision of architects José Aslan and Héctor Ezcurra.

Although the initial cost of the project had reached the amount of $4,479,545.80, then it was decreased to about 3 million dollars due to the committee's decision to cancel the construction of the north end of the stadium owing to the lack of sufficient funds.

As the stadium's foundation was to be six or eight feet deep, it required open pit excavation for guaranteeing the stability of the ground, as well as pumping bilge water from the site. Three stands of the stadium were built during two years.

As part of the top facts about El Monumental, you may find it interesting to know that it has 50 km of steps, with 26,000 square meters of reinforced concrete and around 3,000 tons of steel.

El Monumental inauguration

The stadium opening was on Wednesday 26 May, when an eye-watering crowd of around 70,000 people observed the handing over of an Argentine flag, one from the club, paid for by a group of associates while hearing the song of the national

anthem

and the River Plate chant.

Even the following day, approximately 68,000 spectators appeared to watch a match between River Plate and Uruguay team Peñarol, with a 3–1 triumph for the home squad.

It could not be excluded from the

top facts about El Monumental

that in the 2016-17 league season, River Plate drew a mean home attendance of 37,000, which was the second-highest in the league.

El Monumental Facilities

As one of the other

top facts about El Monumental

, it is notable to suggest that the complex of the stadium is also equipped with facilities for tennis,

basketball

, and other sports, along with living quarters for youngsters, a theatre hall, a parking lot, museum etc.

It is convenient through a number of train and bus lines while it is situated within walking distance from the Barrancas de Belgrano transportation hub.

Amazingly unlike most other stadiums in the Buenos Aires area, you can find a car park outside the stadium very easily.

El Monumental Renovation

Due to the change of administration, a couple of years ago the stadium underwent an extensive renovation program ranging from the audience's logistics to the stadium's display.

To be specific, in November 2014, a new full-colour led was established after the removal of its previous display, with a 19,45m width and 7,16m height which is triple of the old one and the largest among

South American

stadiums.

At the same time, a new Paddock Club and hospitality seatings were established at the field level. Even in August 2015, the Ciudad Universitaria station was opened on the Belgrano Norte Line in so far as to serve both the stadium and the University of Buenos Aires' Ciudad Universitaria campus that is situated on the other part of the tracks.

El Monumental is connected to the station with a viaduct as well as the line, being linked to both central Buenos Aires through its Retiro terminal and also some of the city's northern outskirts.

Extensive renovations in the bathrooms, along with led screens were installed in boxes and stalls, and in November 2015, the River Plate Museum was entirely rebuilt in that attractions were added and a River Plate store was constructed, where officially licensed products are sold.

For creating a more pleasant ambience for the spectators, in December 2015, a tempered glass envelope was established over the outer lower rings of the stadium.

As one of the top facts about El Monumental, it should be indicated that the renovation plan is set to be continued, while the club is in search of funding for a massive development plan that is consisted of raising the capacity of the stadium to 80,000 spectators.

El Monumental momentous events

The original design of El Monumental was composed of four double-decker stands, but due to the inadequacy of the bank's loan for launching the whole project, El Monumental was left with a horseshoe shape.

During the presidency of Enrique Pardo, the horseshoe was somewhat enclosed in 1958. It is considered to be one of the amazing

top facts about El Monumental

that from the $10 million transfer of Omar Sivori to

Juventus

of Italy, they could afford to set up the new construction, the first tier Colonia stand, making the stadium's capacity reach the number of 90,000.

As the stadium is not only the River Plate's home ground but also it is the Argentina national football team venue in their home games for some events as the FIFA World Cup qualification, it had become remodelled and eventually finished to meet its initial project following that Argentina granted the right to host the 1978 World Cup.

Back then, River Plate borrowed money from the Military Government in charge of the country, yet they struggled to meet repayments owing to the changes of currency, having a harmful effect on the team.

Be that as it may, Monumental was the headquarters for the 1978

World Cup

as it was opened on June 1 for the match between West Germany and Poland. They even went on to host seven more games, most notably the final between Argentina and the Netherlands.

It is interesting to suggest that while San Lorenzo set the record for the highest number of people joining a match for a visiting team in 1982, in their second division match against Tigre, San Lorenzo could attract over 70,000 people to River's stadium since they had not their own stadium back then.

Even following an 18 years drought, at the time that River was racing for the title, 100,000  people were present at the stadium.

Moreover, at the end of the 1986 and 1996 Copa Libertadores second-leg finals that both of them were against América de Cali, 86,000 spectators were in attendance, since even more seats had been added.

It is to be said in Argentina versus Uruguay 1987 Copa América semifinal over 87,000 spectators attended. Besides, Argentina's greatest ever loss at home, took place in 1993, in a qualification match for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as they conceded the game  5–0 to Colombia.

Although after that

Argentina

had never conceded a match in World Cup qualifying within this stadium, on October 8, 2015, Ecuador defeated them 2–0.

Moreover, the stadium has been the host of the closing ceremonies and the athletics events of the First Pan American Games in 1951 as well as the first Super Special Stage of the 2007 Rally Argentina of WRC.

In addition, Rugby union matches featuring the Argentina national rugby union team, Los Pumas, also at a time occur on this field, even though the Pumas more often play at other stadiums.

El Monumental Concerts

With the advantage of being the biggest stadium in Argentina, it is no wonder to see that the concerts of

international

performing artists or bands visiting Buenos Aires, usually take place at El Monumental.

Precisely as saying, in December 1987, former leader of The Police, Sting, delivered his debut performance in Argentina as a soloist, becoming the first artist to perform with sold-out tickets at the stadium.

The stadium was the host to Amnesty International's final Human Rights Now! Benefit Concert on 15 October 1988, as the show was headlined by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, with performances of Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N'Dour, León Gieco and Charly García in which 75,000 people were attended.

David Bowie's Sound+Vision Tour took place on 29 September 1990, selling over 81,900 tickets from just one show.

In 1990, Eric Clapton delivered a performance in his Journeyman World Tour in front of a sold-out crowd of 70,000 audiences while INXS also had a concert at the stadium on 22 January 1991 during The X Factor World Tour.

As part of a Rock & Pop Festival, Prince put in a performance at El Monumental in January 1991 as the festival featured singers like Robert Plant, Joe Cocker and Billy Idol, just to name a few.

Elton John delivered his performance in Argentina at this stadium on 21 and 22 November 1992 during The One Tour.

Paul Simon performed at the stadium in December 1992 at Derby Festival. The festival included the following bands The Cult, John Kay, Inspiral Carpets, among others.

Guns N' Roses first performance at the stadium was two concerts offered on 5–6 December 1992, as part of their Use Your Illusion Tour.

Several months later on 16–17 July 1993, the band put on two more concerts as the final shows of the same tour, as their last performances with most of their original lineup for more than two decades.

Afterwards, over more than twenty years later, they reunited with classic members Slash and Duff McKagan, featuring two shows on 4–5 November 2016, as part of the Not in This Lifetime... Tour.

Not to mention that even the American king of the pop Michael Jackson delivered three sold-out concerts as part of his Dangerous World Tour at the stadium, on 8, 10 and 12 October 1993 for an overall audience of 225,000 fans (75,000 people for each show).

While Paul McCartney presented three concerts at El Monumental in December 1993 in The New World Tour, for the first time in the country, following 17 years later, he performed two concerts again to a crowd of 82,000, as part of his Up and Coming Tour in November 2010.

Luis Miguel who is the only Latin artist that has smashed records of assistance in Argentina sold out two successive concerts for more than 120,000 thousand fans for the two nights in November 1996.

Madonna put on two sold-out concerts in October 1993 during The Girlie Show and another four in December 2008, during her Sticky & Sweet Tour; while she is the record holder for fastest sell-out of a concert at the stadium for her first performance, with over 263,000 tickets sold in three hours.

Moreover, she also put on concerts at the stadium on 13 and 15 December 2012 as part of The MDNA Tour.

It goes without saying that in 2003, the international pop singer

Shakira

staged a sold-out concert during her Tour of the Mongoose, so as to become the first and only female Latin artist to sell out River Plate Stadium.

In 2009 the British band Oasis put on one of the biggest concerts in their history while Noel Gallagher and the Argentine public played an indelibly emotional moment, by presenting "Don't Look Back in Anger".

AC/DC put on show three sold-out shows in December 2009, in their Black Ice World Tour. The mythical New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi have performed at the stadium several times, the latest one in 2010 as part of The Circle Tour.

The band Coldplay also delivered a performance at the stadium on 26 February 2010 in their Viva la Vida Tour. In May 2011, the Teen Queen, Miley Cyrus brought her Gypsy Heart Tour which sold out in a week, as the stadium was packed with 65,000 people, so as to pick up the honour of becoming the third female artist who loaded the stadium with audiences after Shakira and Madonna.

Lastly, the British metallers, Iron Maiden gave a performance at El Monumental on 27 September 2013 as part of the Maiden England World Tour while more than 60,000 people attended a 145-minute show.

These were just some of the most notable concerts that were held at Argentina's biggest stadium, El Monumental.

 

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source: SportMob

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