Celta Vigo - Real Madrid postponed
The Celta Vigo - Real Madrid match has been officially cancelled, however Real Madrid put pressure on LaLiga and Celta Vigo right up to the end for the game to go ahead as scheduled, despite the stadium having suffered damage in the storm, which saw winds of 120 kilometres an hour batter the north-west of Spain, with 9 metre high waves lashing the coast.
Real Madrid announced they will travel to Vigo
The mayor of Vigo, Abel Cabellero, announced the postponement at the city owned stadium, earlier on Saturday afternoon, saying: "The decision can't be changed; the fire crews can't reach the [damaged section] to repair it, and we want safety to be the number one priority.
Despite that announcement Real Madrid said they would travel to Galicia on Sunday morning in any case, on a charter plane, and proposed various ideas to Celta to try and ensure the game went ahead, saying they would help repair the damaged section of the stand, or that the affected zone could be shut for this game.
LaLiga confirm postponement of Real Madrid - Celta Vigo
Despite pressure from Real Madrid for the match to go ahead, LaLiga finally confirmed, in the light of the technical report prepared by Vigo city council, who own Balaídos, that the match would be suspended.
Reasons Real Madrid wanted to play Celta Vigo on Sunday
Real Madrid were desperate to play the game for a number of reasons. First of all the weather forecast for the region showed the storm would have abated by Sunday, meaning there was no danger of further damage to the stadium; the club from the capital therefore felt it would be possible to repair the section, or simply play with it shut. The zone in question is where the away fans would sit, and Real were happy for the approximately 30 Madrid fans expected to miss out.
However the technical report into the storm damage made it clear that even shutting the section in question would not prevent there being a risk of injury to both players and supporters.
But the main reason for Real Madrid wanting to play on Sunday was a sporting one: Celta Vigo coach Berizzo had announced he would be fielding a second string team against Real Madrid, in order to rest eight or nine first team players for the Copa del Rey match against Alavés on Wednesday at Mendizorroza (21:00 CET). With the game now to be played at a later date there is a high chance Real Madrid will end up facing the full strength Celta Vigo side.
Equally this indicates why Celta Vigo were keen to have the match postponed: they can now rest their players without needing to play a LaLiga match with a weakened side. (Alavés announced they would demand the Copa del Rey match should be postponed if Real Madrid-Celta Vigo is postponed... )
The other reason Real Madrid wanted to play the game as scheduled is the calendar. Both sides already have a full fixture list (Real Madrid already have one LaLiga game in hand to play, against Valencia, from when they were on Club World Cup duty), and if either of them go any further in Europe it may become almost impossible to find a free date to play the match.
Real Madrid v Celta Vigo in a different stadium
Real Madrid also put forward the idea of playing the match at a different ground, something which Celta Vigo were vehemently opposed to. The Galician club have sold nearly every single ticket for the match, with just 700 remaining. Moving the game, and 25,000 fans, to another stadium would be a huge logistical headache.
In Galicia the options included Pontevedra's Pasarón stadium, but it only has capacity for 10,000 supporters, and the home team are playing Celta Vigo B at 17:00....
Real Madrid also argued the match could be moved to the north of Portugal, Braga or Porto, but Celta Vigo poo-pooed the plan.