Football in Medellín: My Colombian Soccer Experience

I have been fortunate enough to see many great football games live; FC Barcelona in Barcelona, Boca Juniors in Argentina, a World Cup game in Brazil, Asian Cup games in Thailand, and of course being Australian, countless World Cup Qualifiers in Australia.

One thing I can say from experience is that there is nothing like going to a football match in South America.The passion for football here is second to none. Some people even say it is a religion but last time I checked it was still classified as a sport.

We lived in Medellín for 4 months, a city that has two of the best Football teams in Colombia. I had the opportunity to see a live game while I was there;  Atlético Nacional, the pride of Medellín Vs Newells Old Boys, an Argentinian club rich with History.

The whole experience was epic. I have never experienced an atmosphere quite like the one in Medellín.


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Football Teams in Medellín

Medellín has 2 main football teams – Deportivo Independiente Medellín and Atlético Nacional. As you would expect in a city with two football clubs, the rivalry between the teams is huge. These guys hate each other.

Previously owned by Pablo Escobar (no explanation of this guy needed), Atlético Nacional is one of the biggest clubs in the country. Just take a walk around the city and you will see their green and white shirts everywhere, even on non-game days. Nacional has had a lot of success including 14 league titles, two of these coming back to back in 2013 and 2014.

The lesser supported team in Medellín is Deportivo Independiente Medellín. Know as ‘Los Rojos’ (The Reds). The team wears a red and navy blue kit and has won five league titles in their proud history.

The game of the season without doubt is when these two teams meet in  El Clásico Paisa (the Paisa classic). However, any game at Atanasio Girardot, a stadium that both teams share, is an experience that won’t disappoint.

Video as the teams come onto the pitch –

The Football Match in Medellín

We were invited by our Spanish teacher and good friend Camilo, a mad Atlético Nacional fan, to go see a game between his team (now ours too 😉 ) and Newells Old Boys from Argentina. This was a biggy – a quarterfinal in the Copa Sudamericana.

As we arrived at the stadium, the atmosphere was intense. There were people everywhere. Outside the stadium there are dozens of food vendors everywhere; selling the typical Colombian staples – plates of grilled meat, potatoes and hot dogs topped with crisps. There are also plenty of outdoor bars where you can grab some drinks pre-game.

No alcohol is sold inside the stadium so make make sure you act like a local and drink as much as you can before the game.

The Stadium

The queue in to the stadium is quite long and can take sometime to pass all the security pat downs and checks. Make sure you arrive early to avoid missing the start of the game.

Once inside the stadium, you are basically free to choose your seats in that section. We tracked down some seats in the upper stand of the Oriental section.The upper stands provide a better view as the seats in the stadium are a bit of a distance from the pitch.



Me and my good friend Camilo before Kickoff.


The first thing you notice when inside the stadium is the fanatical fans at  each end, in particular the stand behind the northern goal . This section is a sea of green and white shirts, banners, streamers and flags. The area is bursting at the seams. I was actually fearful that some fans were going to fall from the edge of the top tier from lack of space.

The Atmosphere

The support and dedication from these supporters is something to be in awe of. They did not stop singing and jumping the whole game. Combine that with a percussion section and you have this amazing atmosphere that seriously gave me goose bumps throughout the game.

The quality of football was ok. Not up there with any of the top leagues in Europe, but still some great skills and very entertaining.

The game finished 1-0 in favour of the home team, with the lone goal coming right at the death in the 88th minute to send the crowd into a frenzy. I can’t describe how good the atmosphere was at this point.

It was such a tense game throughout and to have an incredible finish like that was something I won’t forget in a hurry.

Video right after the winning goal was scored –

How to Get There

Estadio Atanasio Girardot is located in the Laureles area of Medellín a few kilometres west of downtown.

The easiest way to get to the stadium is to take the metro.  The Estadio stop on line B is next to the stadium. If you are coming from downtown or the Poblado area you will need to take line A on the metro then change at the San Antonio stop to get on to line B. The metro cost 2000 pesos ($1US)

Taxis are another alternative and are very reasonable especially when sharing with a few people. A taxi shouldn’t cost you anymore than 12000 ($6US) from the Poblado area or 8000 ($4US) from downtown.

Where to Buy Tickets

You can buy tickets at the ticket booths at the stadium. These can also be bought on game day as games rarely sell out, unless it is the clasico or the final.

There are also other venues where you can purchase tickets such as the Coltejer building in downtown and at El tesoro shopping mall in Poblado.

Most tickets range from 10000 pesos ($5US) to 50000 pesos ($25US).

What you Need to Know

Schedule: &

Stadium Address: Entre carreras 70 y 73 y las calles 48 y 50, Medellín

Metro: Line B – Estadio stop

Costs: 10000 pesos ($5US) to 50000 pesos ($25US).

For football and non-football fans the experience of seeing a live football match in Medellín is something that can’t be missed. The passion and energy the supporters bring to each game is something that has to be witnessed. I have been to various sporting events around the world and this for me was up there as one of the most memorable. It wasn’t because of the quality of football, or the even the actual game itself, it was the atmosphere and the noise that these die hard supporters bring to the game.

Nothing can prepare you for a football match in South America, there isn’t anything that comes close. Do yourself a favor and make the effort to get out and see a game, you will love it!

Have you ever been to a football match in Medellín or anywhere else in South America? What did you think?


Written by

radhika fulltimenomad

Johnny H.

As the co-founder of Fulltime Nomad, Johnny really believes the world is too big to stay in once place. In 2013 he broke away from his non-location independent job to chase his passion of travel and living abroad. Now he helps others do the same.




  1. Stavros

    Thanks for this post!! I’m traveling to Medellin in March and am DYING to go to a game. This post is so helpful, I was worried about figuring it all out, especially since I don’t speak Spanish, but it seems easy enough! If you have any local friends there that want to join us, let me know!

    • Radhika

      Thanks Stavros! Happy to hear it was useful.

  2. Mike

    Great information! I’ll be in Medellin in less than one week and REALLY want to attend the semi finals of the Copa Libertadores of Atletico Navional vs São Paulo on 7/13/16. I am assuming the game is already sold out and doubt tickets will be available at the stadium box office. The only place I can see tickets online is and they are $110 each for the north end but I’ll be with my girlfriend and am thinking paying a little more to sit sideline would be best and less raucous for her. I have no idea what price range I should be assuming is a fair range and also would prefer to buy in person if possible. Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated!

    • Radhika

      Hey Mike! We bought our tickets at the stadium but I imagine this game would be pretty busy! Apart from the info above, my other suggestions would be to ask your hotel when you get there or this stadium website might have extra info re tickets: You could also ask the folks over on Medellin Living as they might be able to give you more up to date info. Have fun in Medellin!

  3. William

    Where do I sit if Im wearing a Atletico Nacional jersey? I plan on attending the game 10/23 Medellin vs. Atletico Nacional. A local says I should sit in occidental.

    • Johnny

      Hey William. Yeh sit in occidental, that’s fine for Atletico fans. That’s the stand we were in (see videos and images). Walk up to the second tier as this has a better view because the stands are a little away from the pitch. That’s a huge game. Super jealous. Enjoy!!

  4. Wesley

    Hey, do you know when the football season starts/ends? I will be there in late December and hope that the season might still be going on?


    • Radhika

      Hey Wesley, not really sure to be honest. There might be a break over Christmas. I think we went to this game some time in January.

  5. Thomas

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 avnmb

  6. Joan

    Hi guys, create post. However I have something to say, Nacional never was owned by Pablo Escobar, that’s myth by fans of other teams in the country. In 80’s drugs and cartel worked in everywhere and Cali Cartel owned their own football team, America de Cali, there are some who said the same with Escobar but never confirmed.

    • Radhika

      Thanks for clearing that up, Joan 🙂

  7. Del Jimenez

    I will be making a trip to Colombia next month and can’t find anywhere online to purchase tickets. Do you know if that’s possible or do I have better luck when I get there? Thanks, D

    • Radhika

      Hi there! Not sure if you can buy online but as we mention above, we got ours on the day and it was no issue. Have fun!