santiago-bernabeu

In the early parts of the 20th century, Real Madrid first played at Campo De O’Donnell, but then moved to the larger Campo Chamartin in 1924. In 1943, Chamartin had already become too small again, and club-president Santiago Bernabéu decided that Madrid needed a new and modern 100,000-stadium.

This new stadium got built at the same site of Campo Chamartin. Construction began in 27 October 1944, and on the 14th of December 1947 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu officially opened with a match against Portuguese champions OS Belenenses (3-1).

The stadium was initially still called Nuevo Estadio Chamartin. On 4 January 1955, after the General Assembly of Members Compromisaros, it was decided that the stadium adopt its present name in honour of club President Santiago Bernabéu.

At that time, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu consisted of two uncovered tiers that could hold just over 75,000 spectators. Capacity was further increased to 125,000 in 1954, when one of the long sides got expanded with a third tier.

During Euro 1964 Championships, Santiago Bernabéu hosted one of the two semi-finals and the final between Spain and the Soviet Union (2-1).

Towards the end of the 1970s, the stadium had already started to age, and at one time even plans were made to build a new stadium in the north of the city. However, with the perspective of the 1982 World Cup it was instead decided to renovate the Bernabéu, which included the construction of a roof that covered the three two-tiered stands and the installation of seats in half of the stadium. As a result, capacity was reduced to 90,800 places.



During the 1982 World Cup, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu hosted three matches in the second group stage and the final between Italy and West Germany (3-1).

In the 1990s, UEFA required the stadium to become an all-seater, which would have reduced capacity to 50,000 seats. Club president Mendoza therefore started an extensive redevelopment program that included extending the third tier over the entire stadium, the creation of corporate facilities, and four access towers in each corner of the stadium. Works started in 1992 and were completed two years later.

In the summer of 1998, and chaired by Lorenzo Sanz, the Santiago Bernabéu adopted an all-seating arrangement, bringing its capacity down to 75,328 spectators.

When Florentino Pérez became the president of Real Madrid, he launched a “master plan” with one goal: to improve the comfort of the Santiago Bernabéu and the quality of its facilities, and maximise revenue for the stadium.

Pérez invested €127 million in five years (2001–2006) by adding an expansion to the east side of the stadium, as well adding a new façade on Father Damien street, new costumes, new boxes and VIP areas, a new stage in honour of the east side, a new press area (also located on the east side), a new audio system, new bars, integration of heating in the stands, panoramic lifts, new restaurants, escalators in the tower access, and implementation of the multipurpose building in Father Damien street.

Following the enlargement of the lateral east side and the creation of new galleries, the capacity of the Santiago Bernabéu was 80,354, all seated. The last change was an increase of about five thousand to a capacity of 85,454, effected in 2012.

In its history, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu has hosted four European Cup and Champions League finals. The first final was in 1957 between Real Madrid and Fiorentina (2-0), the second in 1969 between AC Milan and Ajax (4-1), the third in 1980 between Nottingham Forest and Hamburg (1-0), and the last one in 2010 between Internazionale and Bayern Munich (2-0).

Real Madrid presented plans to further upgrade the stadium with commercial and corporate facilities, and to increase capacity to over 90,000 seats. This was going to be done by renovating the stand facing the Paseo de la Castellana avenue, but it was challenged by the local council and blocked by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid.

Finally in October 2016, Real Madrid and Madrid City Council have reached an agreement over the €400 million renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu — with the club accepting a court decision and modifying the construction plans now set to begin in 2017. The revamped venue, which will also carry a new facade, is expected to be fully completed by 2020.


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