Spain’s leading newspaper Marca suggests that Real Madrid’s stadium will be smaller than only two other football venues worldwide, as soon as expansion ends. This seems a bit selective, if not untrue at all, though…
Just as a reminder – Real Madrid has been granted planning permission in mid-November and is about to choose the final design out of four shortlisted visions of top architects. The aim is to improve facilities and give Estadio Santiago Bernabéu a fresh image. Extensive additions to the corporate and commercial zones are expected to boost income and allow for the estimated €200-250 million investment pay back in just 5 years. Will this prove realistic, time will tell.
What we already know, however, is that stands will grow by some 10,000 seats. Exact future capacity is unknown as detailed documentation is yet to be prepared, but the club expect to reach or exceed 93,000 people inside, once work is done. The structure already known for incredibly steep and tall stands is to go up even further.
Marca decided to take the opportunity and compare future Bernabéu with other top stadia of the world and concludes that the Madrid-based venue will most likely become the third largest football stadium, falling short of only Camp Nou and Estadio Azteca. The capacity increase is enough to pass Wembley and FNB Stadium, though.
Forming the list in such a way is arguable, however. Marca didn’t take into account giants from Asia or USA that sometimes reach or exceed 100,000 in capacity (but using benches or terraces, not individual seats), limiting the comparison only to stadia that meet highest requirements by FIFA and UEFA.
Even so, no stadiums planned for the future were included in the comparison (with possible 100,000-stadiums in Iraq and Japan being announced), nor was the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, which is used mostly for American football, but has also played host to association football and also meets top expectations for this discipline, with capacity almost at 110,000 on numerous occasions.