Belgrade ‘s Marakana is not like Rio de Janeiro’s namesake. It’s even worse, and it’s not just a question of “k” instead of “c”. The debut of Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli in the Champions League (at 9 pm live on Sky) in group C (at the same time there is Liverpool Psg) coincides with the return to great levels of the Red Star , noble decay of European football, winner of the Cup of Champions in 1991, in the final in Bari against Marseille. Serbs have not participated in the Big Ears Cup since 1991-1992.
The Red Star wins the 1991 Champions Cup in Bari

The history of football – The Rajko Mitic stadiumof Belgrade and a real bugbear for all Red Star opponents. Inaugurated in 1963, it made the history of European football: the final of the 1976 European Championships was played here (won by Czechoslovakia on penalties against Germany, when the spoon penalty was invented by the Czech player Antonin Panenka), a final of the Champions Cup (Ajax Juventus 1973), a Uefa Cup final (Red Star Borussia Monchengladbach 1979), Sacchi’s Milan saved from the “Belgrade fog” in 1988 (Carlo Ancelotti was among the Rossoneri in midfield, tonight on bench of Napoli).
The first spoon in history: Panenka’s penalty at Marakana during the European Championship final against Germany

Welcome to hell– A fiery basin known by all as Marakana : in 1964 108 thousand spectators attended the historic derby of Serbian football, the one between Red Star and Partizan. In 1975 it reached 110 thousand for the match between the hosts and the Hungarians of Ferencvaros. Then the Uefa modernization works have reduced the capacity to 55 thousand spectators, but have not diminished passion and enthusiasm. And above all they have not canceled the nightmare number 1 for every opposing player.
The tunneldel Marakana and the far from symbolic descent into the stadium’s hell: a couple of meters wide, about 75 steps long, it practically never ends, since when you seem to have arrived on the green lawn there are some ladders. Four steps on the left, then 19 on the right, the path becomes narrower and narrower, first on the walls there were some Cyrillic writings that were decidedly not very nice for the guests of the match. Today those graffiti have been erased, but the feeling of sporting terror that assails you when you finally come out on the pitch and find yourself behind the deafening din of the North corner of the house remains.
The Marakana tunnel, before being cleared of graffiti
Billy Costacurta, Milan defender in the 1988-1989 season, goes back with his mind as reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport:
I remember the policemen who looked at us badly in the tunnel and moved their batons in an intimidating way. Then they did nothing wrong, but the feeling stayed with me. During the celebrations I was also bitten by a wolf dog. There is something different about that stage, a particular warmth that you already notice in the warm-up. I told my teammates that Marakana makes you a team and I think that’s right

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