REAL MADRID

The changes Real Madrid must make to play their games at the Di Stéfano

LaLiga and UEFA have told Real Madrid that they can play matches at the stadium behind closed doors while the coronavirus crisis is still affecting football.

The changes Real Madrid must make to play their games at the Di Stéfano

Real Madrid's plan to play the remainder of this season's matches, once LaLiga returns, at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium in Valdebebas is started to take shape. Playing at the smaller venue at the training complex, which is usually used for Castilla matches, will serve other purposes - such as allowing the club to step up the remodelling work at the Bernabéu. It is also located on the outskirts on the city, away from the congested centre and seeing as all of the remaining games will be played without public, it doesn't matter if they are played at a smaller stadium. 

Madrid's six remaining home games in 2019-20

Madrid's next game would have been at home to Eibar on 13 March - but it was cancelled after the government declared a state of emergency that afternoon. So Madrid have six home games in LaLiga to finish the season - against Eibar, Valencia, Mallorca, Getafe, Alavés and Villarreal, all of which would be played in Valdebebas - as could the home leg of the Champions League quarter final - providing Zidane's team can turn around their Last 16 tie against Manchester City with the return still to play at the Etihad. There wouldn't be any problems overlapping with Castilla's fixtures, if the RFEF ends up scrapping the remaining matchs left in the Second Division B.

LaLiga and UEFA have informed Madrid that as far as they are concerned, there would be no problem playing the remainder of this season's matches behind closed doors at the Di Stéfano. And beside, the pitch measurements are identical to those at the Bernabéu. For the time being, Madrid prefer to wait and see what is decided regarding the rest of the season.

Madrid would need to make some adjustments to the Di Stefano to be able to stage first team matches there. For starters, room would be needed to install all of the required VAR technology  - extra camaras and a monitor room, like the one at the Bernabéu; That, isn't a major issue and can be resolved easily. Also, floodlighting at the Di Stéfano is adequate for television broadcasting of Castilla games in the Second Division B but doesn't offer the kind of quality which is needed for league and Champions League broadcast. The club would need to install additional, more powerful floodlights in line with requirements set by LaLiga and UEFA. Television camera positioning would also need to be thought out.

Lastly, LED advertising banners would need to be installed as Madrid have obligations to fullfil with their sponsors, which bring in a substantial amount in revenue for the club. Again, that isn't an issue which would cause problems.

Madrid think that all of the adjustments could be made within the next few weeks - bearing in mind that competition in Spain isn't expected to return until June at the earliest. That gives them plenty of time o get sorted, and in the meantime, make the most of an empty Bernabéu to forge ahead with remodelling work which could be finished a few months ahead of schedule with the original project due to be completed by the autumn of 2022.