On Thursday 20th August 2015, I visited the Nou Sardenya, home of Spanish 4th division and La Liga founder club CE Europa.
It was our final day in Barcelona and also the hottest, with 30+ degree heat burning down on the city. But as an avid football fan, I couldn’t resist visiting one last stadium before heading to the beach!
CE Europa currently play in the Tercera Division, the fourth tier of Spainish football, which features a total of 361 clubs divided into 18 groups. However, they are a club with a rich history despite their current struggles in the lower leagues.
Founded in 1907, the club reached the Copa Del Rey final in 1923 and went on to become founder members of La Liga in 1928, alongside fellow Catalonia clubs FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. But Europa would only last in the country’s top division for three seasons before being relegated and, sadly for them, never returning.
In more recent times, their biggest successes have come in the prestigious Copa Catalunya – a competition arranged by the Catalan Football Federation for teams in the area. CE Europa famously beat Bobby Robson’s FC Barcelona in back to back finals to lift the title in both 1997 and 1998. They are also the reigning champions, defeating Girona FC 2-1 to win the competition for a third time on 25th March 2015.
Their stadium, the Nou Sardenya, is relatively easily accessible via the metro system and it didn’t take us long to discover it. Luckily, it was open to the public due to a training session taking place and this allowed us to get plenty of photos of CE Europa’s home whilst watching the players train.
Opened in 1940, the ground is impressive for the level of football it hosts – holding 7,000 fans, of which 1,000 fans are housed in the all-seater main stand. The other three ends are simply terracing, but with large apartments towering over them that provide a very European feel to the venue.
CE Europa is certainly something of a hidden gem for football enthusiasts visiting Barcelona. Everybody goes to the Camp Nou and many will also visit Espanyol’s stadium, but to visit the Nou Sardenya felt like a rather unique insight into lower league football in the county and an experience that many would overlook.
Gallery: (click for larger images)