Split

Poljud Stadium

30 May 2018
Known to locals as Poljudska ljepotica or the "Poljud beauty", Poljud is the second largest stadium in Croatia (after Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb) and has a capacity of 35,000 people. Poljud was slated for a massive re-construction in anticipation of a joint Croatia / Hungary bid to host the UEFA cup in 2012. However, as Poland and the Ukraine were chosen to host the games, the re-construction plan has been put on hold. The stadium was originally constructed by the Yugoslavian government as part of the facilities for the 1979 Mediterannean Games and was officially opened by Josip Broz Tito, who was an avowed fan of the team who play their home games in Poljud, HNK Hajduk Split. By far the most important and revered sports team in Dalmatia, a dedicated fan base around the world has followed Hajduk throughout the team's history. In the former Yugoslavia, Hajduk was one of the few teams to attract fans from different regions and ethnicities, particularly with Albanians in Kosovo. And there are numerous anecdotes about Hajduk never playing a game without at least some of their loyal fans in the stands, the Torcida. Named for Brazilian football supporters that impressed Hajduk fans during the 1950 World Cup (in Portugese, torcer is 'to cheer'), the Torcida are one of the most dedicated football supporters groups in Europe. The Torcida generally call Hajduk players as bili, which in local dialect is the plural form of bijeli, or white, in reference to the white shirts that, along with blue shorts, comprise the Hajduk uniform. Along with the team's rich history, Hajduk is also known for cultivating quality football players, with several going on to illustrious careers in European club football. Suffice it to say that when the Croatian national team placed third in the 1998 World Cup, five of the eleven starters were former Hajduk players. In 2015, the Poljud Stadium was declared as a protected cultural monument of the Republic of Croatia.

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