Lionel Messi is getting a new home, and it is every bit as sumptuous as the outrageous skills he regularly exhibits on the pitch. Spanish champion Barcelona's iconic three-tiered Camp Nou stadium opened in 1957 and 59 years on a nine strong panel assembled by the Catalan club has selected Nikken Sekkei from an initial 45 bids for the ground's redevelopment. The Japanese firm will work alongside Catalan studio Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes on the upgrade.
Work is due to begin in 2017 and is scheduled for completion in the 2021/22 season. It will seat 105,000 and aims to provide a fitting cathedral for the dynamic football Barca has become synonymous with in recent years.
Described by the club as "unique" the renovation will reportedly cost in the region of $710 million, with Barca expected to sell the stadium's naming rights to help fund the new construction.
"The proposal stands out for being open, elegant, serene, timeless, Mediterranean and democratic," a club statement said.
"It is also notable for its relationship with the environment, providing depth, creating shadows and making members the stars of the facade and of the open area at all times.
"In short, it is a unique solution, reproducing the characteristic vision of the grandstand and canopy, from the inside out, a silent and powerful tribute to the stadium built by Francesc Mitjans in 1957."
The Camp Nou is the biggest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 99,354. Spectators there this season have witnessed 48 league goals in just 13 home matches.
Barca is on course to repeat its treble of last season, winning the La Liga title, Spanish Cup and European Champions League.
The club laid out a set of requirements for the new design including that every seat should have a "perfect" view of the pitch and also be covered to protect fans from the elements.
The new roof will measure more than 47,000 square meters and the stadium will have an emphasis on energy saving technology and environmental sustainability.