Stadiums named after legendary footballers

Mitch Wilks
An empty Santiago Bernabeu
An empty Santiago Bernabeu / Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

Stadiums names are pretty important, right?

They are, after all, the monikers for the places where you back your team to the death, and the setting for your club's greatest triumphs and failures.

It's a little bit boring then when stadiums have pretty crap names. Sponsored grounds, we're looking at you.

Seeing stadiums renamed after the beautiful game's biggest icons is much better. So, grab your travel diary and your exchange rates lists (if you have them); here is a list of the best of those, dotted around the world.

1. Puskas Arena - Hungary

Budapest Honved v MTK Budapest - Hungarian Cup Semifinal 2nd Leg
The default home of domestic European football / Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Named after Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas, it is the stadium that has hosted every possible game of football to have been played throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Every. Single. Game.

2. Stadio Giuseppe Meazza - Italy

Outside the San Siro Stadium
Too good to demolish / Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Better known as the iconic 'San Siro', the stadium is named after two-time World Cup winner Giuseppe Meazza.

There are plans for it to be demolished in place of a new, 60,000 seater replacement, that will look like every other new stadium. Boring.

3. Abe Lenstra Stadion - Netherlands

Lenstra is regarded as one of the greatest Dutch players ever and his legacy is remembered by Eredivisie side Heerenveen, who named their stadium after the club legend.

4. Estadio Diego Armando Maradona - Argentina

Empty Soccer Stadiums of Buenos Aires During Coronavirus Pandemic
An empty Estadio Diego Armando Maradona, Buenos Aries / Getty Images/Getty Images

Home to Argentinos Juniors, the stadium was named in honour of the Argentine icon in 2004, having made his professional debut with the club in 1976.

5. Stadio Diego Armando Maradona - Italy

SSC Napoli v HNK Rijeka: Group F - UEFA Europa League
Napoli play at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona / Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Maradona was so good that one stadium isn't enough to honour his legacy.

Following his death in 2020, the Stadio San Paolo was renamed to remember the icon.

6. Santiago Bernabeu - Spain

Real Madrid v Racing Santander
Does it get much better than a full Bernabeu? / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Named after the man who transformed Real Madrid into the heavyweight they are today, the Santiago Bernabeu remains one of the most impressive stadiums in world football.

7. Georgi Asparuhov Stadium - Bulgaria

PFC Levski Sofia v PFC Litex Lovech
The Georgi Asparuhov stadium / EuroFootball/Getty Images

Home to Levski Sofia, the Georgi Asparuhov Stadium is ruined by the fact that an athletics track separates the field from the fans.

Not good enough. Next.

8. Ali Daei Stadium - Iran

Ali Daei
Ali Daei has scored 109 international goals for Iran / Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

He's the world's leading goalscorer in men's international football - of course he has a stadium named after him in Iran.

9. Estadio Jorge 'Magico' Gonzalez - El Salvador

'Magico' Gonzalez is perhaps one of the most underrated footballers of his generation, famously dragging El Salvador to the 1982 World Cup.

His legacy lives on through a 35,000 seater ground in San Salvador, which hosted Iron Maiden in a 2016 world tour.

10. Estadio Mane Garrincha - Brazil

The Estadio Mane Garrincha has a unique look / SERGIO LIMA/Getty Images

Staying in the Americas, the Estadio Mane Garrincha honours one of football's most naturally gifted and human characters ever, and is the third-most expensive stadium in the world.

It looks incredible, though, and hosted the third-place playoff of the 2014 World Cup.

11. Johan Cruyff ArenA - Netherlands

Amsterdam Arena
the Johan Cruyff ArenA is one for your travel list / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Home to one of football's most successful sides, the stadium was known as the Amsterdam ArenA before being renamed in 2017 in memory of the Ajax legend.

Watching a game there is an absolute must for football fans.

12. Fritz-Walter-Stadion - Germany

An incredible stadium with a capacity of almost 50,000, the stadium is home of 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

The club currently play their football in the German third tier. Yes, the third tier, with a 50,000 seater stadium.

13. Guus Hiddink Stadium - South Korea

Gwangju FC play in the Guus Hiddink stadium / JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

No, your eyes do not deceive you.

Last but not least, the most surprising entry of them all. South Korea renamed the Gwangju World Cup Stadium after Guus Hiddink after he guided them to fourth place in the 2002 World Cup.