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What is Real Madrid’s record with a closed Bernabéu roof?

Los Blancos don’t often use their retractable roof to seal their stadium but has it brought them any luck so far?

Los Blancos don’t often use their retractable roof to seal their stadium but has it brought them any luck so far?

This evening’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich presented Real Madrid with another opportunity to play in a completely closed stadium. Stadium groundsmen pressed the magic button to draw the retractable roof into place for the third time in this season’s continental tournament - a move which required special permission from the powers that be at UEFA.

Cold weather hadn’t been a factor in Madrid’s decision to put the lid on the Bernabéu - it was a very pleasant evening in the Spanish capital with no rain forecast. It was purely a question of acoustics - the retractable roof would trap in all the roars and chants with the noise from the crowd bouncing off all surfaces to liven up the atmosphere and hopefully having a positive effect out on the pitch.

Under cover in the Madrid derby and El Clásico

Madrid have tried out their retractable roof on a number of occasions this season with varying degrees of success. Most importantly, the new roof works fine and there have been no technical issues to report. But how does it translate to the team’s results? Does it bring them good luck?

The Bernabéu’s mechanical roof was used for the first time in this season’s Week 4 LaLiga meeting against Getafe - the team’s first home game of 2023/24. A crowd of 66,747 were hemmed in together under a closed roof and completely sealed stadium. Initially, it might have seemed that the roofed Bernabéu might be the bearer of bad luck - the visitors were ahead by the 11th minute, with former player Borja Mayoral finding the net. At half-time, Madrid fans might have been wondering whether it was a bad omen but fortunes changed in the second half. Joselu restored parity just minutes after the restart and Jude Bellingham popped up to hit the winner, his fifth goal of the campaign, bang on 90 minutes.

The next time Madrid closed the roof was for Villarreal’s visit in Week 17, the penultimate game before Christmas. This time, any fears that the roof might bring the team bad luck were allayed. Ancelotti’s team ran out 4-1 winners with Bellingham and Rodrygo handing them a two-goal lead before the interval and Brahim and Modric finishing off the good work after the break.

Bitter, wintery conditions were a factor to keep the roof closed before and during the Week 19 game against Mallorca. The roof was put in place in the morning and stayed there long after the late kick-off game had ended. Antonio Rüdiger popped up to fire in the winner and maintain Madrid’s unbeaten run under cover.

Atlético were surprised and not too happy that Madrid decided to play the derby under a closed roof in February. With ambient temperatures hovering around 11 degrees Celsius at kick-off, comfortable conditions, the Rojiblancos felt it was “a strange thing to do”. The match ended 1-1 with Marcos Llorente, another ex-madridista, cancelling out Brahim’s opener.

Despite failing to beat their city rivals, Madrid nevertheless opted to close the roof again for the biggest domestic game of the season against Barcelona, the first time El Clásico had effectively been played “indoors” in Spain. Although they made hard work of the Week 32 fixture, Bellingham’s last-minute winner dramatically moved Los Blancos a significant step closer to a second league title in three years.

Real Madrid's record playing under a retractable roof at the Bernabéu


  • Week 4 Real Madrid 2-1 Getafe 
  • Week 17 Real Madrid 4-1 Villarreal
  • Week 19 Real Madrid 1-0 Mallorca
  • Week 23 Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético 
  • Week 32: Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona

Champions League 

  • Round of 16 second leg Real Madrid 1-1 RB Leipzig
  • Quarter final first leg Real Madrid 3-3 Manchester City

Madrid’s first game in Europe under a retractable roof

The first time Madrid used the roof in European competition was in the home leg of the Round of 16 tie against Leipzig. That game ended 1-1 - Vinicius had put the hosts ahead on 65 minutes but the visitors were back level almost immediately through Willi Orbán. Brahim’s strike from the first leg was enough to see Ancelotti’s men through.

And, of course, they also used it in the first leg of the quarter-final against Manchester City, surely the best game we have seen at the “closed” Bernabéu. A topsy-turvy game looked set to play out in the English side’s favour, with stunning strikes from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol putting them 3-2 ahead in the second half. However, a sublime volley from Fede Valverde ensured the clash ended all square, with Madrid sneaking through on penalties in the second leg in Manchester.

UEFA regulations on Bernabéu roof closure

UEFA’s competition regulations state in Article 32. 01-02: “Before the match, the UEFA match delegate, in consultation with the referee, decides whether a stadium’s retractable roof will be open or closed during the match. This decision must be announced at the match organisational meeting, although it may subsequently be altered at any time prior to kick-off if the weather changes, again in consultation with the referee.

If the match starts with the roof closed, it must remain closed until half-time or for the entire match. If the match starts with the roof open, only the referee has the authority to order its closure during the match, subject to any applicable laws issued by a competent state authority. Such a decision may only be taken if the weather seriously deteriorates. If the referee does order the roof to be closed during the match, it must remain closed until half-time or the final whistle”.

All in all, Real Madrid have played five matches with the roof closed this season, winning five and drawing two. Can they extend their unbeaten record against Bayern, or could the Germans inflict their first defeat?