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  • Rik Sharma

RCDE Stadium - RCD Espanyol


Photo by Rik Sharma, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

RCDE Stadium Av. Baix Llobregat, 100 Barcelona, Spain 08940

Year Opened: 2009 Capacity: 40,500

 

A Shiny New Home for the Marvelous Minority

Espanyol have always been FC Barcelona’s rivals, since being formed in 1900. In Franco’s era, the Catalan capital’s second side were viewed as being more in league with him than the Blaugrana were. To this day, Spain flags are waved in the stadium. The ground itself is new, with Espanyol starting to play there in the 2009-10 season onwards. Their previous homes were, until 1997 Estadi de Sarria, and then in the Lluis Companys Olympic stadium at Montjuic between that year and 2009. They see themselves as the ‘marvelous minority,’ in the face of Barcelona’s power.


Food & Beverage 3

The concession lines are often long, but the service is friendly. You have to queue up, order and pay, before shuffling along to another window to pick up your order.

The food options are fairly standard for Spanish venues. As well as a selection of snacks, like popcorn, crisps, sweets and chocolate, there are some sandwiches. These are in the traditional “bocadillo” form, i.e. crusty bread with a thick filling. The options are cheese and bacon, Spanish omelette and ham. There is also a hot dog on offer, for €3.50. The sandwiches vary between €4 – €4.50.

Coca-Cola is offered, along with Coke Zero, orange and lemon Fantas. Coffee and hot chocolate are available, as is chocolate milk and water. The latter is €2, while the other cold drinks are €3.50. Hot drinks are around €2.

The hot chocolate is nice on a cold day – it’s thicker than you might expect.

Atmosphere 4

The stadium is rarely, if ever, full. However, considering the empty seats, the fans generate a decent atmosphere.

Given the stadium is relatively new, as you would expect it has good sight lines in almost all places. There are two electronic scoreboards which usually show the teams and who has been booked or not.

There is not usually any special entertainment on offer.

Because the stadium has gaps at the top, plenty of wind gets in. That means warm days can become cool in Cornella, and cold days can be freezing. Dress with warmer clothes than you think you may need. All areas are covered.

Neighborhood 4

Cornella is a 20-minute metro ride away from Barcelona’s city centre. Fans are recommended to stay there, rather than in the immediate vicinity of the ground, because of the huge number of tourist options. However the actual area around the stadium is not too bad either, especially with the Splau shopping centre open right next to the ground.

In the Splau shopping complex there are plenty of options, including La Tagliatella, for pasta and pizza, Tommy Mel’s for burgers and American cuisine, and Udon for Japanese. The latter is a good bet, with generous portions. There are also other options, including Rodilla sandwich shop, BBQ Ribs, which does what it says on the tin, and a Mexican joint called Panchito.

There is a cinema in the shopping centre, but not a whole lot else to do around Cornella. Instead, in Barcelona you can visit the beach, the Sagrada Familia cathedral and plenty of more tourist activities.

The best place to stay would be in Barcelona itself, with access to the blue metro line if you want to get to Cornella quickly. Around the neighbourhood of Sants would be an ideal spot.

Fans 3

Espanyol fans are passionate, even if that passion is mainly directed at hating Barcelona. Visiting during a Catalan derby would give you a good look at the bile that game produces.

The stadium is usually half-full, with around 20,000 people in attendance. That rises steeply for the visit of big sides, like Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In the 21st minute of every game the fans clap, for the memory of Dani Jarque. He was a former captain of the club, who died August 2009 of a heart defect. The 21st minute is chosen because it was his shirt number. There are two sections of fervent support, one behind each of the goals. The ‘ultras,’ if you will, though there is rarely any trouble.

Access 4

The stadium is fairly easy to navigate and access from all sides. Inside movement is easy.

The best way to get to the stadium is on the metro from Barcelona, L5 – the blue one. There is a 15 minute walk to the stadium after that – just follow the fans. However, you can also get the trains from Plaza Catalunya or Sants, which go closer still.

Return on Investment 3

Espanyol don’t have any great players and most visitors to Barcelona don’t bother with Cornella. However, for football fans who want to see how the other half lives, it’s worth a trip.

Arriving at the stadium is cheap, with a metro or train ticket costing a maximum of €2.50. Snacks at the game are averagely priced for Spain, with a sandwich and a drink setting you back around €7.50. Actual tickets are likely to set you back between €40 and €75, depending if you sit behind the goal or along one of the sides, respectively.

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Extras 4

You can have a tour guide show you around Espanyol’s stadium, which is both cheaper and less busy than the equivalent at Camp Nou. As well as a short 3D film about the club’s history you get the usual trips around the dressing room, the tunnel and more.

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