REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: new Bernabéu retractable pitch delayed by a year

Real Madrid fear they won't get the installation process finished in time for the return of fans to the Bernabéu, and will wait until summer 2021.

Remodelling works on the Bernabéu continue apace, particularly the process of installing a retractable roof that will completely cover the stadium. The old, partial roofing has now been dismantled in the arena’s north stand, and a large crane has been put in place in preparation for the installation of the new structure.

A roof covering the Bernabéu in its entirety won't only be there to protect football fans from the rain; it will make the arena a prime venue for events such as concerts and congresses, too. Real Madrid's ambitious stadium revamp will also see the installation of a 360º electronic scoreboard, the first of its kind in a football ground.

Real Madrid need more time to install retractable pitch

However, one element of the 'new Bernabéu' that will have to wait is the planned retractable pitch, whose construction is without doubt the most challenging part of the remodelling process. To build the pitch, construction workers need to dig 25 to 30 metres below ground in order to install rails on which the playing surface will slide in and out of the stadium. This is a task that will take time to complete, as it is complicated by the nearby presence of part of the Madrid Metro underground rail network, which has a station next to the stadium.

Given that the 2020/21 LaLiga season could now begin on 12 September with some fans in attendance (it is thought Spain’s National Sports Council may allow grounds to be filled to 30% capacity), Real Madrid fear they will be unable to complete the job in time for the return of supporters to the Bernabéu. They will instead wait until next summer’s close-season period to finish the structure.

To allow work on the Bernabéu revamp this season, Madrid are playing their behind-closed-doors LaLiga fixtures at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano, a 6,000-capacity stadium located at their Valdebebas training complex. Having won their three home games since the LaLiga restart so far - beating Eibar, Valencia and Real Mallorca - Madrid host Getafe tonight, before playing two more league matches at the Di Stéfano, against Alavés on 10 July and Villarreal on 16 July.

Real Madrid vs Getafe: AS English live coverage

You’ll be able to follow live coverage of this evening’s clash between Real Madrid and Getafe right here at AS English. We’ll be building up from about an hour ahead of kick-off, before taking you through the action as Los Blancos look to take advantage of Barcelona’s draw with Atlético Madrid and move four points clear at the top of LaLiga.