Stadium „Rajko Mitić“ – Maracana
Just like many other European metropolis Belgrade has its „Football Temple“. The most famous and the biggest football stadium is located at Ljutice Bogdana Street, near the highway. This is the headquarters of Football Club „Red Star“, here the national team plays important matches as well. Since it was built the Stadium was officially called „FC Red Star Stadium“. In December 2014 however, the name was changed to „Rajko Mitić“ in honour of one of the greatest club’s players, though „Maracana“ is more often used among sport lovers.
The field with tribunes was originally built in 1927 on the location of modern stadium, and it belonged to FC „Yugoslavia“. During World War the Second, FC „Yugoslavia“ is closed; Red Star, created on the 4th of March 1945, since then has been playing at this stadium. In the 1959 Red Star played the last match at its old field and the building of a new Stadium started. After four years of building one of 10 biggest European and most modern stadium opens. Official capacity of the Stadium equaled 110.000 audience and because of its size the Stadium got the name „Maracana“ after famous Brazilian Maracanã, the biggest stadium in the world at that time.
For years Maracana has been a witness of great matches. Tribunes are almost every time full and people are seeking for more tickets. Several times, under pressure of „Delije“ (hero in Serbian) fan team European football giants lost to Red Star. Surely we have to mention the greatest success in the history of Red Star: victory European Cup (predecessor of modern Champions league) in 1991. The prominent match of semifinal „Red Star vs. Bayern Munich“ is discussed till now.
Nowadays the stadium is somehow different. After installation of seats the capacity lowered to 53.000 audience but many things haven’t changed. Maracana may not be compared with modern multifunctional stadiums of today’s world, but the history and traditions of this stadium make it differ from others. There are plans of reconstruction but due to poor financial situation of Red Star Maracana stays unchanged and hosts the most successful football club of this part of the continent.