SportsJuana is your ultimate home for the latest news, in-depth analysis with an abundant variety that leaves you hungry for interesting and path-breaking content.

Football La Liga Opinion

Pune to Camp Nou: Fulfilling a glorious lifelong dream

Ever dreamt of an opportunity to watch your favourite team LIVE at the home ground? It’s hardly an uncommon one with almost every Asian football fan guilty of day-dreaming over the same, at-least once in his/her life. But, what if you get a glorious opportunity to realise this magnificent dream, converting your desire into reality?

The resulting experience would be truly magnificent as Sameer Satav, a fan of FC Barcelona realised after being gifted a once in a lifetime opportunity, to watch the Blaugranas at the Camp Nou in 2018.

Sameer, who has been supporting Barca since the last 30 years, got a chance to fulfill his “biggest dream” of watching the Catalans battle it out.

“It took some time for the emotions and realisation to sink in, that my biggest dream had finally been fulfilled,” the 41-year-old says with his shining eyes, reflecting all the emotions involved. 

Camp Nou

“I was in awe of the intoxicating experience at the Camp Nou.”

Camp Nou-3

“When I entered the stadium that night, I could not believe my eyes for a few seconds. The stadium certainly looks magnificent in images and documentaries, but the grandeur is at another level altogether,” he adds.

Camp Nou-3-4(1)

Sameer’s journey as a Cule began in the year 1992, after being introduced to international football during the 1990 WC in Italy at the tender age of 11.

“I started supporting Barcelona after being enthralled by their excellent performance in the UEFA Champions League, with the nail-biting 1-0 win against Sampdoria in the final, the icing on the cake. Still remember the superb extra time free-kick by Ronald Koeman, which helped us lift the trophy for the first time. I made a solemn promise to myself that very day, that I would watch the club of my dreams at the Camp Nou at-least once, at any cost,” enthuses the 41-year-old.

As Sameer grew older, the dream remained as evergreen but the opportunity to convert it into reality refused to transpire.

“My journey as a Barcelona fan went on to experience its fair share of highs and lows, be it the devastating 4-0 drubbing against Milan in 1994 to the glory years under Pep Guardiola. However, the desire to visit Camp Nou and the inability to realise this dream continued to stick out like a sore thumb,” he says with a laugh.

The years continued to pass by steadily, with Sameer handed no choice but to sit silently waiting for a sign from God. The sign arrived soon enough in 2018, with the Cule handed a chance to work in Dubai.

“I shared my dream of watching Barcelona at the Camp Nou with a client in Dubai, who urged me to plan a trip down to Spain for the first leg of the home Champions League quarter-final clash against Roma. Planning began 1 and a half months in advance, with the triumph against Chelsea in the Round of 16 certainly a positive sign.”

However, the journey to realising his dream was not going to be a straightforward one even at this stage, as Sameer soon realised.

“I was initially supposed to be accompanied by a friend, who backed out at the last moment. My family was extremely worried about my safety, but they realised the importance of this dream in my life and urged me to go ahead.”

So began the start of an exciting journey, which was extremely tiring at the same time.

“I reached the night before the game, after completing a very strenuous airline trip followed by travel in a train and taxi. There was very limited internet connectivity, which certainly did not make the task of locating my hotel any easier. However, my accommodation was located at a walking distance of just 10 minutes from Camp Nou, which made me supremely excited and cheerful.”

As Sameer woke up on the day of the match with a slight headache due to the tiring journey, he started drawing a perceived design of the stadium.

However, the beautiful, grand and splendid architectural masterclass which he witnessed on reaching the stadium, would have been impossible to imagine at any stage.

Camp Nou-5

“I was speechless when I entered the stadium 2 hours before the game. Tears came out of my eyes, as I called up my parents and thanked them for this unbelievable experience.”

Camp Nou-6(1)

“The Champions League anthem literally sends a chill down your spine, and the experience cannot be described in words. Watching my beloved team register a 4-1 win, was a beautiful feeling.”

While the clash was an exhilarating experience for the Barcelona fan, there was another surprise waiting for him.

“While realising my dream was supremely exciting, what I could never have imagined was an opportunity to watch Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez drive down in their flamboyant cars right in front of my eyes, with Messi even smiling at me for a brief second. One cannot hope for anything better.”

Following the excellent contest which he had witnessed with a beautiful tale for his grandchildren as well, Sameer completed the trip with a flourish indulging in a tour of the stadium, before going on to step on the sacred pitch itself.

“The tour of Camp Nou was the icing on the cake, with the opportunity to step on the pitch one of the most beautiful moments of the trip. I possess a small replica of the stadium which has some actual grass on it, along with a sample Champions League trophy which looks amazing in the backdrop of the stadium.”

“Memories like these are what a man lives for, and I certainly feel extremely lucky to have fulfilled my life-long dream. This will be a tale for the ages,” concludes Sameer.

Camp Nou-10(1)

Written By: Marcelino Da Silva.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *