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Champions League: Real Madrid faces Braga in epic mountain stadium

Braga in epic mountain stadium

La Liga giants Real Madrid head to Braga for the first time to play in one of the world's most unique stadiums: Braga Municipal Stadium. The 30,000-capacity stadium comes carved into a mountainside, incorporating natural landscape into its design. Renowned architect Eduardo Souto de Moura built the stadium in 2004 for the UEFA Euros hosted in Portugal.

The Portuguese designer later won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011, recognizing the $236 million Braga stadium as one of his best contemporary works.  

Real Madrid visit ‘The Quarry' for the first time

The absence of the traditional four-sided stadium structure means that the rocky face of the mountain serves as a natural backdrop to the field.

Including a giant screen across the mountain's face is another ingenious touch by Souto de Moura. There are plans to double the stadium's capacity, nicknamed The Quarry, to make it eligible to host the knockout stages of the 2030 World Cup. Portugal, along with Morocco and Spain, is one of the host countries. Preliminary games occur in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay to mark the 100th anniversary of the World Cup.

“The Braga stadium might be the most difficult project I ever did,” said De Moura, who uses natural materials to integrate his works into the surrounding environment. “And perhaps for that reason, the one I enjoyed the most, they had found a plot of land for a stadium, in a valley with a waterway, [and] thought the stands could follow the curves of the valley. I visited and fell in love with it.”

Recall that Real Madrid ace Federico Valverde once hit a shot against Rayo Vallecano that mooned out of the stadium and into someone's apartment. Imagine if the midfielder shanks one off the mountain tonight. 

Real Madrid heads Group C going into tonight's match against 3rd-placed Braga. And by the looks of it, it may well be a slippery match. Another win gives Los Blancos their three straight wins in the Champions League this season. There's always a possibility of a Braga upset brewing in the cards to shake up the tournament.

Photo: Twitter/_MadridTimes

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