A marvellous curiosity in a city full of them, Lisbon’s national stadium is like no other. Set deep in the pinewoods of Oeiras, designed for public displays as well as sports events, the Estádio Nacional is where nearly every Portuguese Cup Final has been held since the 1940s. It forms part of the Jamor sports complex of pool, tennis courts and other outdoor activities.
It is also a place of pilgrimage for every Celtic fan, as it was here that Celtic became the first non-Latin club to win the European Cup, in 1967.
It was here, at this bizarre amphitheatre cut into the trees, that a visiting Bill Shankly turned to Celtic manager at full-time to shout the words: ‘John, you’re immortal!’.
For Torino fans, the stadium has less happy connotations. This was the venue for the last game played by Il Grande Torino before the Superga air crash of 1949. The likes of Loik and Valentino Mazzola would never grace a football pitch again.
The ground had been opened five years before, in June 1944, partly designed by architect Miguel Jacobetty Rosa, also responsible for several other buildings of note in Lisbon and surroundings. It is said he took his inspiration from the Olympic Stadium in Berlin – although its verdant surroundings are entirely different.
The current capacity is 37,500 – Benfica’s cup final win of 2014 was a sell-out – and plastic seats have since replaced the wooden ones that would have been used here in 1967. The old-style loudspeakers remain, though, perched over turnstiles of similar vintage. Renovation has been promised.
From Cais do Sodré (terminus of the green metro line), take tram No.15 to its terminus at Algés. From there, take little yellow minibus No.776 to its terminus at Cruz Quebrada. You’ll be by a little bridge, with a swimming pool and path the other side of it. Walk towards the pool and head up the path to the right. After 10mins or so, the stadium will appear on your left.