I set off from England on the 27th of August, the day before the game, flying from Bristol airport and during the two hour flight I remembered back exactly a year ago, to my first Camp Nou match. A 1-0 win against Valencia courtesy of an Adriano golazo which I watched from the second tier of the Gol Nord (North Goal).
This year was more exciting though as I had managed to secure second row tickets just left of the halfway line. A chance to be truly pitch-side and watch the match in arguably some of the best seats in the house.
After checking in at the hotel near the Plaça de Catalunya, Barcelona's city centre, I headed for the Camp Nou. I wanted to continue my tradition of buying my jersey straight from the Camp Nou and having gotten Iniesta last season, I decided to go with Xavi this season. The majority of fans travel on the Metro to the game and I travelled from the Passeig de Gràcia up to the Diagonal where you can connect to the blue line. The only line that takes you to the Camp Nou's nearest Metro stop, Collblanc.
The Camp Nou is one of those stadiums that appears out of nowhere. You will be travelling down a standard Barcelona street and this enormous structure will appear as a giant towering over you. The majority of visitors are situated behind the grandstand where the stadium tour starts and the megastore is also located. As you walk through you are hit by just how big the international appeal is, fans from all across the globe can be seen and the view is a sea of red and blue.
The megastore is also a wonderful sight in itself. As you walk in, the entire squad are represented in mannequins both dressed in the home and away shirts with a huge Barça crest in the middle. While in the centre of the room is stairs leading to the lower floor marked by Barcelona's motto "Mes Que Un Club." A great sight for any football fan.
I collected my Xavi shirt and sat down in the cafe outside when I heard some cheering coming from across the car park. I rushed over to see the gathering crowd forming around the entrance to the Camp Nou's underground parking. You could hear the crowd muttering and even though I don't speak fluent Spanish it was clear that the lucky crowd had just caught a glimpse of Lionel Messi being driven into the stadium. The crowd was starting to disperse when another car pulled up, this time driven by Pinto. This started a long number of cars each being driven by a first team player. Fàbregas, Iniesta, Piqué, Neymar and more along with the coach, Tata Martino, all appeared and waved at the crowd as they drove into the belly of the Camp Nou. Meaning this crowd of 100 people or so can say they were no more than ten feet away from these superstars.
Not a bad first day, eh? But the next night was game night. Starting at 11 PM Spanish time meant there was enough time for dinner before heading to the match. As I was eating the number of people wearing Barcelona shirts began to increase. More and more fans were meeting with other fans before heading to the Camp Nou, dressed in the shirt of their favourite player. The most popular ones being Messi and Neymar Jr.
Then it was time to head for the stadium. The Metro was a lot busier this time, the scarves, shirts, hats and flags painted the walls of the train red and blue as people of all ages headed towards the ground. The Camp Nou is situated so there any many streets accessing it, giving you the impression of fans pouring into the stadium from all angles. I headed to the gate and entered the stadium. When you emerge into the stadium, you are hit by how enormous the structure is. Fans so high up they look like stars in the sky.
The players began their warm up routine to huge applause acknowledging the crowd who had come out so late to see them. The match kicked off and the atmosphere is truly unique. Atlético Madrid fans were singing their hearts out in the top corner of the stadium but were cancelled out by chants of "BARÇA, BARÇA, BARÇA" and "Messsssi". Any player that came close to the sideline was greeted by applause and any sniff of a goal the fans were up on their feet.
The Dani Alves incident resulting in the red card happened just a few metres away from me and the crowd was furious. But this fury quickly turned to joy as Pedro was brought down in the penalty area. Just as quick though, this joy turned to disappointment as Messi hit the bar from the spot. The game finished and the fans rejoiced as the Supercopa went to Xavi and Barcelona. The lap of honour was a chance to celebrate with the players and Pedro gave his shirt to a young boy in the crowd.
After I arrived home in England, I remembered I had recorded the game and spotted myself in the crowd on the TV. A great way to end a great trip to the Camp Nou.