Why are Real Madrid not playing at the Santiago Bernabéu?
Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and co will be aiming to win LaLiga over the coming weeks, but will be playing their home games in newish surroundings.
On Sunday 14 June, Real Madrid will get their league title tilt back up and running at home against Eibar. But that 'home' will not be the Santiago Bernabéu.
Di Stefano the short-term home for Los Blancos
Of the 11 remaining games, six of them will be at home, but none at their famous ground to the north of the Spanish capital. Instead they will all be played at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, which is located within the club’s Valdebebas training complex, north of Madrid.
This ground, which was inaugurated back in 2006, is normally host to games of Castilla, Real Madrid’s youth team. For that reason it will be very familiar to several of the current first team - eight of whom have played in the lower ranks. The dimensions of the pitch are the same as those of the club’s more illustrious stadium but some people have suggested that the lack of fans -all LaLiga games for the time being are being played behind closed doors - may be less impactful at the smaller venue (capacity 6,000). What may work against them in their opening fixture, of course, is that opponents Eibar have actually played a competitive match in the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, against Castilla, although it was over six years ago, so unlikely.
Why the move away from the Bernabéu?
The Santiago Bernabéu is getting a massive upgrade. Following much planning, work got underway earlier this campaign and the target date for completion is ahead of the 2022/23 season. Check out some of the pictures of the ‘new Bernabéu’ from the outside, and also from inside.
Another option that was offered to Madrid was to play home games at their rivals, Atlético. It may have been host to the 2019 Champions League final, however, the idea of Los Blancos using it didn't sit quite right with those in charge. Whether this will change if progression is made past Manchester City in UEFA's showpiece competition is one for another day.
The Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium may only have seating for 6,000 spectators but it has all of the latest technology, with VAR now completely installed. First team squad sources say that it has, "dressing rooms, warm-up areas, recovery zones and training facilities which are better and more comfortable than a lot of those found at top flight clubs."
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