Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

Capacity81 044
5100 (VIP seats)
340 (Press seats)
Country Spain
CityMadrid
ClubsReal Madrid CF
Other names Nuevo Estadio Chamartín (1947–1955)
Floodlights 2400 lux
Inauguration 14.12.1947 (Real Madrid – OS Belenenses 3–1)
Construction 27.10.1944 – 1947
Renovations 1953–1954, 1982, 1992–1994, 2001–2006, 2019–2023
Design Manuel Muñoz Monasterio, Luis Alemany Soler (1947), Rafael Luis Alemany i Manuel Salinas (1982), Antonio Lamela (1994, 2006), GMP Architekten, L35 Arquitectos, Ribas&Ribas (2023)
Address Concha Espina 1, 28036 Madrid

Estadio Santiago Bernabéu – stadium description

On which venues did Real Madrid initially play?

Real Madrid (originally known as the Madrid Foot-Ball Club) was officially established on March 6, 1902, although the team had already informally existed since 1900. The team played its first matches on the Moncloa fields, and later on the pitches known as Campo de la Estrada and Campo del Retino. Later, the club used the pitch at the now defunct bullring (in its place is now the Palacio de Deportes), and occasionally played on the pitch inside Madrid's horse racing track.

In autumn 1912, Campo de O'Donnell was opened. This was the club's first real stadium, although it could only hold a maximum of a few thousand spectators. It was also located near the bullring. Not far away there was another stadium of the same name, which served the club Atlético. In 1920, King Alfonso XIII gave the club the title "Royal" ("Real") and it has been known as Real Madrid ever since. The club's growing popularity and membership meant that Real began to think about moving to a larger venue.

In April 1923, the team moved to a pitch inside the cycling track in the Ciudad Lineal area. However, it soon became apparent that the move to a location distant from the city centre was having a negative impact on attendances and the club began construction of a new stadium. It opened on May 17, 1924 and took its name from the area where it was built (Estadio de Chamartín). The new facility had a capacity of 15,000 spectators. In 1932 and 1933, Real Madrid won their first Spanish league titles. In the late 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War, the club's stadium was severely damaged, but after the war the facility was rebuilt at a cost of 300,000 pesetas and its capacity increased to 22,000 spectators.

How was the current Real Madrid stadium built?

In 1943, Santiago Bernabéu, a former striker for the club with whom he won the Copa del Rey in 1917, became president of Real. As a teenager, Bernabéu helped, without getting paid, with the construction of the Campo de O'Donnell. After playing football, he obtained a law degree and worked as the club's secretary before becoming Real's president. One of the first actions of the new president was the purchase of 5 ha of land adjacent to the site on which Real's current stadium stood. The purchase cost the club 3 million pesetas.

On October 27, 1944, construction of Real's new stadium began on the purchased land, and the cornerstone was laid by Santiago Bernabéu himself. The design for the new arena was created by Manuel Muñoz Monasterio and Luis Alemany Soler. Real played at the Estadio de Chamartín until May 1946, after which they moved temporarily to Atlético's then home ground, the Estadio Metropolitano. One of the conditions of the stadium's lease was that members of Atlético could enter Real's matches for free. The Estadio de Chamartín was subsequently demolished to make way for the new stadium (although the new facility was largely built next door, its eastern stand was created partly on the site of one corner of the old stadium).

When was the Real Madrid stadium opened?

The new stadium was inaugurated on December 14, 1947, with the hosts beating Portugal's Os Belenenses 3:1 in a friendly game. The new facility was much larger than its predecessor. Its gently shaped stands surrounded the pitch on all sides. The north, west, and south stands had a second tier based on a reinforced concrete frame, the east stand had a lower single tier, and in the middle, just behind the spectator seats, was a neoclassical marathon tower. The capacity of the stadium was around 80,000 spectators. It cost 38 million pesetas to build, which was a huge sum for its time.

When was Real's stadium first extended?

Although Real were not spectacularly successful after the opening of the new stadium, Bernabéu continued with his vision of creating a great home for the club that would soon become a football powerhouse. Between 1953 and 1954, the eastern section of the stands was extended with a new tier (known as the anfiteatro) that was much higher than the stands on the other sides of the stadium. The marathon tower was thus dismantled, although two new towers were built near the eastern corners to adjoin the protruding section of the extended eastern stand. The inauguration of the new eastern stand took place on June 19, 1954, two months after Real won their third league title (and their first when playing in the new ground). The extension increased the stadium's capacity to 120,000 spectators.

After whom Real Madrid's stadium was named?

The stadium was originally known as the Nuevo Estadio Chamartín. On January 4, 1955, in recognition of Real Madrid's current president, Santiago Bernabéu, the new venue was named after him. The arena, especially in its early days, was the venue for competitions in many sports, including boxing, cycling, baseball, handball and American football.

Could Real have a new stadium?

From 1957, the stadium was equipped with floodlights. In 1963 Real's first training centre was opened, the so-called Ciudad Deportiva, which was located near Madrid Chamartín railway station. On December 14, 1972, the 25th anniversary of the opening of the stadium, the digital scoreboards were inaugurated and Real, just as for the opening, played a friendly match against Os Belenenses, this time won 2:1. In 1973, plans were made to build a completely new stadium for Real in the northern part of the city, but in the end they did not materialise.

How did the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu change before the 1982 World Cup?

The next major upgrade took place before the 1982 World Cup, with significantly more seats added to the stadium, which also meant that capacity was reduced to around 90,000 spectators. A major change was also the roofing of all stands except the eastern one. The roof was also fitted with two LED displays (one of the first in the world), which were inaugurated in February 1982 during a friendly game between Real and the Soviet Union. In addition, a temporary overhead passageway was built from the stadium to the Palacio de Congresos on the opposite side of Castellano Avenue, which housed the international press centre. Architects Rafael Luis Alemany and Manuel Salinas were responsible for the redevelopment project. The work cost more than 700 million pesetas. On June 10, 1982 a metro station was opened next to the stadium.

How was the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu extended between 1992 and 1994?

The next extension was carried out between 1992 and 1994. A third storey was added to the north, west and south stands, which, like the second tier, was divided into two parts and the extended sections gained a slightly greater height than the eastern part of the stand. The existing roof was moved upwards, only adding the new parts missing due to the increase in its circumference. While maintaining its existing width, it no longer covered the lower rows, so a special movable structure was added on the west side, which, if necessary, increased the area of the roof, also covering the lower sections of the west stand.

Outside, behind the corners, four spiral towers with staircases similar to those at the San Siro in Milan were built. The stadium was also upgraded with a pitch heating system. The reconstruction was completed on May 7, 1994 at a cost of 5 billion pesetas. The capacity of the stadium after the expansion increased to 106,500 spectators. The redevelopment design was created by Estudio Lamela. In 1994, the shopping centre La Esquina de Bernabéu also opened next to the stadium.

When were the club museum and the new Real Madrid training centre built?

At the end of the 20th century, all standing places were removed, and the capacity dropped to 75,328 spectators. In 1999 the club museum started operating in the stadium. In 2005, the team's new training centre, the Ciudad Real Madrid, near Madrid-Barajas airport, was opened, replacing the old 1963 training complex. On May 9, 2006, Real Madrid''s second stadium (used daily by the club's reserves, among others), Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, with a capacity of 6,000 spectators, was opened within the new complex.

When was the east stand of the Real Madrid stadium roofed?

Between 2001 and 2006, the east stand was extended and roofed, and new boxes and press seats were added. The exterior of the stand was covered with a metal facade. The work cost €127 million and, as with the previous refurbishment, was designed by Estudio Lamela. The modernisation increased the capacity of the stadium to 80,354 spectators. On November 14, 2007, the venue was awarded UEFA's highest category. In 2011 an additional row of seats was added to the stands, bringing the capacity of the arena to 81,044 spectators.

What does the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu look like?

It is the second largest stadium in Spain (after Camp Nou in Barcelona). The pitch of the stadium is surrounded on all sides by gently angled stands. The main stand on the eastern side differs slightly in design from the other ones, being slightly lower and housing VIP boxes and journalist seats. The stands on the other sides are three-storey high, and the wide and steep middle and upper tiers are divided into two sections. The venue is located in the middle of a dense urban area, although outside the very centre of Madrid, in the Chamartín area. It is interesting to note that there is an underground tunnel under the stadium and its upper edge at the shallowest part is about a metre below the pitch, which also limits the possibility of any lowering of the field.

How Estadio Santiago Bernabéu compares to other LaLiga stadiums?

What will the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu look like after redevelopment?

In 2012, four concepts were presented for the next major expansion of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. In January 2014, the concept by GMP Architekten, L35 Arquitectos and Ribas&Ribas was chosen. The design involves the modernisation and expansion of the stands to a capacity of 85,000 spectators. The stadium will be equipped with a new retractable roof, allowing the facility to be fully enclosed, and the stands will be surrounded by a striking, futuristic facade made of stainless-steel panels, specially treated to avoid reflections.

Inside, new commercial spaces and an underground car park, among other things, will be created. The club museum and players' locker rooms will be extended. Under the roof there will be a circular panoramic LED display, spanning around the entire pitch. A main entrance gate will be built on the Castellana Avenue side. The stadium will be equipped with a retractable pitch system which, after being divided into sections, will be retracted into a 30 m deep trench under the western stand, where it will be stored in suitable conditions. Retracting the pitch will make it possible to hold non-football events without damaging the grass.

How is the extension of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu progressing?

The start of the redevelopment has been delayed due to problems with land ownership around the stadium. In the meantime, the hotel and shopping centre that were to appear in the building as originally planned were abandoned, and capacity was reduced to 85,000 from the 93,500 spectators originally planned.

Work finally began in May 2019. In March 2020, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, league games were suspended; when they resumed in June, with no spectators in attendance, Real moved to their reserve venue, Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, for over a year (until September 2021) to make the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu fully accessible to construction crews during that time. The stadium was also used as a warehouse for sanitary materials during the pandemic.

At the end of 2021, the club took out an additional loan due to the rising cost of the redevelopment (€800 million compared to the original target of €575 million). The ceremonial opening of the rebuilt stadium is expected in autumn 2022, although full completion is expected in mid-2023.

Who is the host of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu?

Real Madrid is one of the most successful football clubs in the world. The team has a record number of victories in domestic league competitions, the European Cup/Champions League and the Club World Cup, among others. The vast majority of trophies have been won during the period played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (since December 1947). In the first two decades of the 21st century, the average attendance at the stadium ranged from over 60,000 to over 70,000 spectators per match. The club is one of the most popular, with a large supporter base worldwide, and is also among the world's highest earning clubs.

What has taken place at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu?

In 1964 the final tournament of the second European Nations' Cup (later European Championship) was played in Spain. The matches of the tournament (in "final four" format) were played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and the Camp Nou in Barcelona. Madrid hosted one of the semi-finals and the final, both involving the Spanish team, who won their first European Championship title of the tournament. The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is, moreover, the stadium in which the national team has played the most matches and has recorded the highest number of victories.

The venue was also one of the arenas of the 1982 World Cup, hosting three second-leg matches and the final of the tournament, which saw the Italian national team beat Germany 3:1. The venue is also included in Spain's and Portugal's potential bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

The stadium has staged European Cup finals in 1957, 1969 and 1980, as well as the Champions League final in 2010, and has also hosted UEFA Cup final two-legged matches (1985, 1986) or the Intercontinental Cup (1960, 1964, 1966). In 2018, the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu was the venue of the return match of the Copa Libertadores two-legged final between River Plate and Boca Juniors (due to the tense situation and incidents that occurred before the match, it was decided to play it on a neutral ground). The stadium has also played host to the most Copa del Rey finals.

The venue also holds various non-sporting events. It is possible to hire the venue for, e.g. conferences, presentations, company meetings, training sessions or private football matches. The stadium has hosted music concerts, including performances by U2, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. On November 3, 1982, pope John Paul II celebrated a service for more than 130,000 people.

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